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GEM launches campaign on safety and courtesy for mobile phone usersBack

Breakdown cover company and road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist have launched a campaign this week to make drivers more aware of the penalties they can face if using a mobile phone when driving.

Although a law was brought in, in 2003 which banned drivers from using mobile phones behind the wheel without a valid hands free kit, there are still many drivers who are breaking the law and are causing potential hazards on the road.

Research has revealed that using a mobile phone when driving can make motorists four times more likely to have a crash with their reaction times reduced by as much as 50 per cent.

The campaign launched by GEM urges drivers to switch off before setting off and it is hoped that drivers from across the country will take note of the statistics provided and think twice before they use their mobiles whilst driving.

David Williams, MBE, CEO of GEM Motoring Assist said: “The temptation to use your mobile phone while driving can be greatly reduced if you turn it off and keep it out of reach. It is very important to keep a mobile phone with you in the car in case of an emergency situation; however it is illegal and dangerous to use a hand-held mobile and it must only be used when you have stopped in a safe place.”

He continues, “Motorists can expect a minimum of three penalty points on their licence, plus fines of £60 if they are caught, however should the police deem the offence blatant or protracted the driver may be requested to go to court to face a fine as high as £1,000. In addition, should mobile phone use be in any way an aggravating factor in a crash, the driver could be facing a serious charge of careless or even dangerous driving.”

The GEM campaign has also joined forces with the National Campaign for Courtesy and is advising people on mobile phones to be courteous in public places. The campaign has issued a courtesy code which includes advice such as speaking quietly if you are in a public place and switching off the sound on your phone if you’re playing games.

Peter Foot, National Chairman of the Campaign for Courtesy comments, “When you are out and about in places such as theatres, restaurants, trains and tubes, libraries, art galleries and many more, it is important to respect others when using your mobile phone. It is easy enough to do if we follow a few simple rules and, not only shows good manners, but also makes situations more comfortable and pleasant for our fellow citizens.”

Posted by Leana Kell on 17/11/2011