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Drivers told hard shoulder not the place for mobile calls

Date 1 Mar 2007
Author The Editor

Motorists are being reminded that it is illegal to stop on the hard shoulder to use their mobile phones, whether hand-held or hands-free. The Highways Agency is telling drivers that hard shoulders are a dangerous place to stop and are for use in emergencies only. Last month 558 motorists in the North East stopped on the hard shoulder for a reason other than breaking down, according to the Agency, and many of these drivers were taking a call on their mobile phones.

Parking on the hard shoulder when it is not an emergency can result in a fine of £30, and driving on the hard shoulder illegally could mean three penalty points and a £60 fine. In addition, drivers could also be prosecuted for using a mobile phone whilst driving. From 27 February 2007 drivers face new penalties for breaking the law by using their mobiles while driving. The fixed penalty now includes the award of three penalty points as well as doubling the fine to £60.

Alan Mason, Operations Manager for the Highways Agency said: "Motorway hard shoulders are for emergency use only, and you should only stop if there is a real emergency and you have no other choice. "The hard shoulder is not a place to take a phone call. Even using a hands-free kit means that you can be distracted while driving. Before setting off on your journey, you should divert your mobile phone to voice mail, or turn it off. You can then reply to calls while taking a break at a service area. "Drivers have a key role to play in reducing death and injury, both to themselves and other motorists and to those who attend in any kind of emergency on motorways."

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