MOTORISTS in Huddersfield continued to chat as they drove - despite new legislation against mobile phone use which came into force today.
Several were spotted using mobile phones in traffic, an act that is now breaking the law.
From now on, drivers can expect a fixed-penalty fine of £30 for using a phone while at the wheel, increasing to £1,000 if the case goes to court.
The move comes after research showed drivers on mobile phones were four times more likely to be involved in an accident.
But many Huddersfield motorists were ignoring the new ruling.
Four drivers were spotted over a 20-minute period negotiating the Chapel Hill traffic lights along the town's ring road whilst holding a phone.
Motorists can expect two months' `grace' before the fines will be enforced.
Police officers in England have been advised to use their discretion and give verbal warnings until February in a bid to educate the public about the changes.
Commenting on the new law, Road Safety Minister David Jamieson said: "By making it an offence to hold a mobile phone when driving we will make the roads safer for all of us.
"I urge drivers to remember: missing a call won't kill you - an accident quite possibly would."
The Government is later planning to make driving while holding a mobile phone an endorsable offence. In the future, culprits can expect three points on their licence each time they are caught holding a phone.
Colin Stout, of the Brighouse Road Safety Committee commented: "I welcome anything that's going to increase road safety, and this measure will, but you have got to have the resources there to make sure that people realise the authorities are serious about this."
He added a piece of advice to all drivers: "When you get in the car, before you put the ignition key in, just switch the phone off. There's no call worth your life or that of anybody else."
While welcoming the law, a number of organisations want to see the Government ban hands-free mobiles as well.
One critic is the road safety charity Brake, which believes some companies are exploiting the ban to promote hands-free models.
Recent tests conducted by the AA Motoring Trust showed that drivers using hands-free devices were just as likely to have an accident as those using hand-held models.
Research from the RAC shows nine out of 10 drivers support a ban on hand-held phones while driving.
Support falls away dramatically for a complete ban on all forms of mobile, though.