London, Dec. 1 (AP): British motorists are no longer allowed to use handheld cell phones while driving under a law that came into force today.
Police can issue immediate fines of £30 to offenders.
But noting reports that many Britons are unaware of the new rules, officers in England and Wales said they would be lenient with violators for the next two months, giving verbal warnings to “assist in the education of drivers”.
In Scotland, police charged one woman with improper use of her mobile phone and issued fines to two other drivers today.
Handsfree mobile phone kits are permitted but transport minister David Jamieson warned that “police can use other powers to prosecute a driver if they are distracted by a call on a hands-free phone”.
The fines for using a handheld mobile can rise to as much as £1,000 if the case goes to court.
The government also plans to increase the immediate fine to £60 and add three penalty points to the offence.
Motorists may incur a total of 12 penalty points before their license is revoked.