Recent figures show that the number of motorists caught using their mobile phone while driving has almost halved since tougher penalties were introduced in March 2017.
This is welcome news given that back in 2016 approximately 74,000 fixed penalty notices were issued between March and December 2016 for this particular offence. However, following the reforms the number of notices issued had almost halved during the same period in 2017.
Increased penalty points and fine
Motorists caught using their mobile behind the wheel now receive 6 penalty points on their licence and a £200 fine, quite an increase from the previous penalty of 3 points and a £100 fine.
Whilst the increased penalties demonstrate that the new reforms are having an impact, it also highlights the fact that there are still a worrying number of drivers who continue to use their mobile phones whilst driving.
‘If you have been accused of a motoring offence or caught using your mobile phone while driving, please contact our experienced team at Paul Crowley & Co, we will provide you with expert legal advice and representation in all aspects of motoring offences ensuring you receive the best possible outcome.’
Lyndsay Clark | Solicitor
Paul Crowley & Co.
Increased risk of an accident
Research suggests that while driving you are 4 times more likely to crash your car when using your mobile phone and if you text and drive your reaction times are twice as slow than if you drink and drive.
The topic of using your phone while driving has gained particular media attention quite recently, following the incident involving TV pundit Jamie Carragher who was caught spitting at the car of a Manchester United fan. The opposing fan whilst driving was clearly seen recording the incident on his mobile phone. Shortly after the clip was shared on social media and went viral, the police confirmed that they would be interviewing the driver in connection with the use of his mobile phone whilst driving. However, following an investigation the police have confirmed that they would not be pressing charges and the driver who filmed Carragher will be attending a driving improvement course. Read more here…
Mobile phone driving laws
Despite the fact that the Manchester United Fan has not been prosecuted, the law is strict when it comes to this offence and there are several elements to the offence which allow for prosecution.
First and foremost you must be driving a vehicle on a road, however, this is not isolated to a moving vehicle. If you are stationary in traffic or even at the side of the road you can still be found guilty of the offence.
You must be using a mobile phone or device. This includes any device which performs an interactive communication function by transmitting and receiving data and therefore includes your sat nav as well as your mobile phone.
You are also guilty of the offence even if you have briefly removed your device from its holder to make or receive a call or perform any other interactive function such as following a map, checking texts, email or social media.
Even if your device is in a holder, if you are pulled over because the police believe you have been distracted by your device you can still be prosecuted.
The safest method to use your device when in control of a vehicle is to ensure you are pulled over in a parked position with your engine switched off. If you are using a sat nav and have it mounted in a holder you should have the sat nav route programmed in and set to ‘Go’ before driving off.
WHAT TO DO NEXT…
OUT OF HOURS…
We offer advice and representation at Police Stations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In the event you need to contact us outside normal office opening hours please call the out of hours no. 07986 211 114. In the unusual event that you cannot get through on this number, please leave a message or text providing your contact telephone number and your call will be returned within a few minutes.