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Motorists face jail over phone use

  • Story Highlights
  • British drivers could face jail for using mobile phones under new guidelines
  • Motorists could be prosecuted for manslaughter -- carrying a maximum life sentence
  • Research suggests driving while using a phone more dangerous than drink-driving
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- British drivers caught using mobile phones could face jail under tough new guidelines to curb dangerous behaviour behind the wheel.

Evidence suggests using a phone while driving can be more dangerous than drink-driving.

The measures, published Thursday by the Crown Prosecution Service, could also lead to motorists who cause death on the road being prosecuted for manslaughter -- a charge carrying penalties up to life imprisonment.

Drivers who operated mobile phones or other devices such as sat-nav systems and music players would be prosecuted for dangerous driving, which carries a maximum two-year jail sentence, rather than the lesser charge of careless driving, the UK's Press Association said.

Rob Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Transport Safety, told BBC radio that the new guidelines set appropriate punishmments for drivers who caused accidents while using a mobile phone.

"What people are being reminded is that driving is a complicated activity and it is better to concentrate on driving than talking," Gifford said.

Research conducted by the UK's Transport Research Laboratory has suggested that using a mobile phone while driving is more dangerous than driving while over the legal alcohol limit.

Tests conducted in 2002 showed that drivers who used a mobile phone were less able to maintain a constant speed and found it more difficult to keep a safe distance from other vehicles. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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