“I’m on the train!”

Motorists who are caught using a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving are about to get an additional penalty – their car insurance policy will cost more – which may well make rail travel a cheaper option than motoring for some.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has said 185,000 drivers were caught using hand held phones in 2007, and despite the threat of fines and points on their licences, it is still a common site to see one-handed motorists weaving about the roads whilst obviously talking to the crook of their shoulders.

Allianz, the insurance company which has decided to load renewal premiums, based on the type of motoring penalty points, say that using a mobile phone is considered worse than getting points for speeding because it is a deliberate decision – "a dangerous and needless act".

The Institute of Advanced Motorists advises that a bluetooth or hands-free car kit, although still breaking the law to use to conduct conversations, can at least mean that the motorist can explain to the caller that they are driving before pulling over and phoning back once stationary.

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