Using A Mobile Phone While Driving

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Using A Mobile Phone While Driving

It is against the law to drive a motor vehicle on a road when holding a hand-held mobile telephone, or a device which performs an “interactive communication function” by transmitting or receiving data (the exception to this is a two-way radio).

What actions amount to an offence of using a phone whilst driving?

This is a very widely defined offence, which was amended to include that simply holding a phone would also be an offence, removing many defences which would previously have been argued by drivers. The actions amounting to an offence would include:

Holding an offence in your hand

Putting a Phone in Charge

Replacing a Phone into the Cradle

Pressing a Button

Answering or making a call

Viewing, composing or sending a text message

Using a phone to access the internet

Accessing music or other audio or video files

Viewing, taking or sending a photograph

Listening to a voicemail message

Using a smart watch

Setting or cancelling an alarm or other function

Changing the settings or route on a sat-nav

What is the sentence?

Using a mobile phone whilst driving is an offence which may be dealt with either by way of a Fixed Penalty Notice, or at a court appearance. As of 1st March 2017, the Fixed Penalty for this offence is £200 fine and 6 penalty points.

What defences are available?

The defences are very limited, but will include using the phone to make payment (fast food / toll roads) when the vehicle is stationary.

What should I do?

If you have received a Fixed Penalty for using a phone while driving, and you believe you are not guilty of the offence, you should contact a motoring lawyer straight away. They will be able to advise whether you have any defence in law or how the sentencing might impact you. If you are HGV driver, the Traffic Commissioner is likely to call you to a Driver Conduct Hearing. If you are a Private Hire Driver, you must notify the Licencing Authority and you could face revocation.

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