There are often many preconceptions surrounding the law in this area. Drivers may think that placing their phone on loudspeaker whilst it rests on the passenger seat can be enough to save them from prosecution- but this is not the case. Put simply, it is illegal to use a mobile phone whilst driving unless you use an apparatus which operates on an entirely hands-free basis, including:
- Headsets utilising Bluetooth technology
- Voice command
- Dashboard holder
- In-built systems (those pre-installed in a vehicle)
The key is that you must be in full control of your vehicle at all times. To prosecute, it would just need to be proven that you held the phone at some point whilst you were driving.
CPS guidance confirms that action can be taken in relation to drivers making/receiving calls and text messages, as well as using the phone to access the internet. The important point to remember is that it has been in the driver’s hand for at least some of the time.
The penalties which can be imposed in these cases vary in range. A fixed penalty notice requiring the driver to pay £200 can be issued, and six penalty points can be imposed. If a case proceeds to court, drivers can receive fines of up to £1,000 as well as a driving ban.
If you’ve passed your test within the last two years, you can also face the loss of your licence completely.
Prosecutions have resulted where the use of a mobile phone whilst at the wheel has been classed as dangerous driving because the driver was said to have been ‘avoidably and dangerously distracted.’
The circumstances of your case may mean that you should not accept a fixed penalty, or you may have a defence to the charges brought. If you are facing action in relation to mobile phone use whilst driving, contact Ghaz today on 0113 284 7413 for prompt and accurate advice.