Seek Legal Advice If You Have Been Driving Whilst Using a Mobile Phone

The Government has revealed new laws in England, Scotland and Wales aimed at curbing what it calls the “epidemic” of drivers using mobile phones at the wheel. With mobile devices a part of everyday life and technology evolving to put more and more different devices on the market, the Government has acted to place more restrictions on their use while driving, and also put more severe penalties in place to discourage drivers from using them while on the road.

New laws include:

  • Newly qualified drivers could lose their licence if caught using a handheld mobile phone. If you accrue six penalty points within two years of passing your driving test, the DVLA will revoke your license.
  • Penalty points and fines for all drivers are set to double to six and £200 respectively.
  • Any driver caught using a mobile phone at the wheel twice, or who accrues 12 penalty points on their licence within a three year period, will be sent to a Magistrates’ Court and would incur a disqualification for at least 6 months unless they are able to successfully advance an exceptional hardship argument as well as face a £1000 fine.

A strong deterrent

It is hoped that the new laws will prove to be a strong deterrent for what has become an increasing problem on the UK’s roads. In 2016, 22 people were killed and 99 seriously injured as a result of drivers using mobile phones while driving.

Mobile phones and other similar devices are a clear distraction to drivers, affecting reaction times and contributing to a loss of focus, regardless of how experienced the driver is. Such a distraction risks serious injury and even death to both yourself, other road users and innocent pedestrians.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has called upon the UK public to play their part in discouraging friends and family from using mobile devices while driving, and claims the offence should have a stigma rivalling that of the equally inexcusable drink driving.

The laws explained

It is illegal to drive a vehicle or ride a motorbike whilst using a mobile phone or a similar device, such as an iPad. These rules are the same even if you have stopped temporarily at traffic lights or are queuing in slow-moving or stationary traffic, and remain in charge of the vehicle. You can also be stopped by police if it is thought you are not in control of the vehicle, ie. you are distracted, and this also extends to drivers using Sat Nav systems or car stereos.

With regards mobile phones, in such cases, whereby the act of someone texting and driving, or taking a call whilst at the wheel has caused or contributed to an accident, the police will prosecute with the charge of driving without due care and attention, and the more stringent charges outlined above will now apply.

At Ison Harrison we have dedicated solicitors who specialise in road traffic offences. If you have been accused of committing this offence, our specialist solicitor, Ghaz Iqbal, can help you. So do not hesitate to contact Ison Harrison on 0113 200 7413 as soon as possible for further information and we can offer you advice on the law, your particular offence and what outcome you should reasonably expect if prosecuted.