Drivers who use mobiles at the wheel face £200 fine

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Drivers are being warned not to use their mobile phones at the wheel ahead of a new law coming into force which will double the penalties for the offence.

Drivers who are stopped while using a mobile phone are currently issued with three penalty points and a £100 fine.

Under the new legislation, which comes into force on 1 March the consequences double to six points and a £200 fine.

Police have launched a campaign to raise awareness of the new law.

They urged motorists not to risk using an internet device or a mobile phone while driving.

Ch Supt Andy Edmonston, head of road policing for Police Scotland, said drivers who were distracted by their mobiles were more likely to cause serious road accidents.

'Split-second lapse'

He said: "The risks associated with using a phone while behind the wheel have always been very clear.

"Any driver will be distracted by a phone call or text message as it affects the ability to concentrate and anticipate the road ahead, putting the driver and other road users at risk.

"Distraction reduces hazard perception and increases reaction times in a similar way to drink-driving, making drivers much more likely to cause deaths and injuries.

"Drivers who think they can multi-task are fooling themselves: research shows 98% are unable to divide their time without it affecting performance."

He added: "Talking on a phone hand-held or hands free, texting, emailing, adjusting sat navs, eating, drinking and smoking are all proven to increase crash risk.

"The law says a driver must at all times be in proper control of their vehicle. If at any time they are not they may be guilty of an offence. Police Scotland consistently targets these offences on a daily basis to reduce road casualties and will deal with offences detected in an appropriate manner.

"We are using this change in the law to, once again, remind drivers that using a mobile phone while driving has always been unacceptable and even careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text - and a split-second lapse in concentration could result in a serious or fatal collision."

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