Parliament: Peer calls for ban on drivers' phone use

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The Independent Online
THE GOVERNMENT should make it a criminal offence to use mobile phones while driving, a Labour peer urged yesterday.

Lord Davies of Oldham said the widespread use of hand-held mobile phones while driving was a danger to the public because motorists were distracted from traffic.

Peers gave a formal first reading to his Road Traffic (Use of Mobile Telephones) Bill, but it has little chance of becoming law because of lack of Government support.

A spokesman for the Department of Transport said present legislation was sufficient because the police could charge motorists for driving without care and attention.

The Government also ran a joint campaign with mobile phone network providers to discourage drivers from using their phones last year.

Earlier Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers announced his decision to auction five third-generation licences, paving the way for at least one new network operator. Third generation mobile phones will enable users to surf the Internet, exchange e-mails and hold video-conferences on the move.