UK drivers face increased phone penalties

Hands-free kits like this Sony Ericsson HBH-GV435 could stop you getting a £60 fine.

UK drivers caught at the wheel using handheld mobile phones will face increased penalties from next month. Drivers caught by police using their phones on the road will now pick up three penalty points, and the fine will double from £30 to £60.

Transport secretary Douglas Alexander said that the increased punishments reflect the seriousness of the offence, putting themselves, other drivers and pedestrians in perilous danger.

Government research has turned up the shocking truth that 20 per cent of UK drivers admit to using their mobiles at the wheel. Motorists using handsfree kits are not included in the new disciplinary tariffs.

And that's not the only bad news for British drivers today. Golf fans have been told not to bring their mobile phones to this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie. It follows complaints from the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) that fans at the event last year disturbed players with their phone noises.

"We have so far resisted the decision to ban mobile phones on the grounds that it may be an inconvenience to the public," said the director of championships for the Royal & Ancient organisers at St Andrews.

"However after receiving complaints referring to the numbers that were in use as play was proceeding, we feel there is no other reasonable option than a complete ban."

James Rivington

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