Repeated studies have shown that drivers who are holding and/or using a mobile phone whilst they are driving take longer to both recognise, and respond to, hazards on the road. In 2007 the law changed to reflect this and driving while on the phone became an endorsable offence.
If you've been caught using your mobile phone whilst driving then you should seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity. With the maximum amount of time possible, a motoring defence solicitor from Oratto will able to build the best defence for you. Oratto is a web-based platform for linking high end lawyers with those who need legal services. All of the lawyers featured on this page are experts in motoring law defences. You can select a solicitor yourself from the list or you can submit your details directly to Oratto and we will find the right lawyer for your needs through our Oratto Match facility.
What constitutes using a mobile phone whilst driving?
A handheld mobile phone is defined as such if it "…is or must be held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call or performing any other interactive communication function." If a phone is being held whilst driving then it is being ‘used', regardless of which function it is performing, and the driver will have committed an offence.
Can I use my phone if I've stopped at traffic lights?
No. Nor can a mobile phone be used whilst stationary in a traffic queue. However, if the traffic queue is severe, and the car engine is not running at all, then it cannot be argued that you were driving. Likewise, pushing buttons on a phone that you are not holding - i.e one that is mounted on the dashboard - does not constitute an offence. But if the police find that you were not in proper control of your vehicle, then you can still be prosecuted.
Are there any exceptions?
The only exception is if there is a genuine emergency and you need to call 999 from your phone. A hands-free phone is one that can be operated without being held.
What are the penalties for driving whilst using a mobile phone?
Your chosen solicitor will be able to advise you in detail, but you will automatically get three points on your licence (recorded as a CU80), plus a £100 fine. If your case goes to court then you may be given a maximum £1000 fine, or £2000 if you were driving a heavy goods vehicle, coach or bus. If you caused an accident whilst driving and using a phone, then you could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention or dangerous driving. Penalties for these more serious offences include large fines, disqualification from driving and a custodial sentence.
What if I am unjustly accused of driving and using a phone?
Sometimes, mistakes are made and you can find yourself accused of something you haven't done. You will always have the chance to defend yourself in court and the police would have to prove that the offence had been committed. A successful defence would depend on strong supporting evidence, such as phone records.
It's also worth bearing in mind that if you collect six points in the first two years after you pass your driving test then you will forfeit your licence.
If you've been accused of driving while on the phone, contact a motoring defence lawyer from Oratto today.