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Mobile Phones and Driving Offences

Mobile Phones and Driving Offences

Despite constant publicity, many a driver still risks their licence by using a mobile phone while driving. Police can prosecute drivers for three offences:

  1. Use by the driver;
  2. Causing or permitting the use by the driver; and
  3. Supervising a provisional licence holder whilst using a mobile phone or hand held device.

Drivers can be prosecuted for these even if the vehicle is stationary, for example, if the phone or device is used while waiting at traffic lights or sitting in a traffic jam. A mobile phone or other hand held device is one which must be held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call or of performing any other interactive communication function. This includes include sending or checking text messages or emails. The penalties for committing these offences can be found in Section 41 D of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and although these are fixed penalty offences the punishment can be as high as:

  • A fine of up to £1,000, unless the offence is committed in respect of a goods vehicle adapted to carry more than eight passengers, in which case the fine is increased to a maximum of £2,500.
  • Obligatory endorsement of three penalty points and
  • Discretionary disqualification.

The only defence is if you can prove the following:

  • The call is to an emergency service using either 999 or 112
  • The caller is acting in response to a genuine emergency
  • That it is unsafe or impractical to stop driving.

The purpose of this legislation is one of road safety and in the event that an accident should occur whilst using a mobile phone or hand held device then there could be other more serious offences which could be brought where the penalties are far higher. Should you, a family member or an employee find yourself facing charges relating to mobile phone use at the wheel, it is advisable to seek legal advice. At IBB we have solicitors who specialise in road traffic law. Contact our road traffic offence team who can help you understand the charges and support you in court. Contact Caroline Dunne at 01895 207214 or email caroline.dunne@ibblaw.co.uk.