Mobile Phone and iPod Use
It is an offence to use a hand-held phone, or similar device, when driving. The penalty is a £30 fixed penalty or up to £1,000 on conviction in Court (£2,500 for drivers of goods vehicles, buses or coaches). Drivers risk prosecution (for failure to have proper control)even where they use hands-free phones when driving. This legislation is subject to further change and the option of prosecution for driving without due care and attention or a charge of dangerous driving is possible particularly where an accident has occured. If uncertain or yyou need case specific information just ask a lawyer
Dangerous driving carries a mandatory minimum ban of 12 months withan order to resit an extended driving test. Clearly a nightmare for the lorry driver recently in the news for removing his phone from his pocket (As it was uncomfortable) to put it on the dashboard. Yes, at the present time this WOULD be considered "Using" and therefore conviction would follow. I have to say I think an appeal would also follow in the particular circumstances of that case.
On or after the 27 February 2007 the punishments will be changed. Fixed penalty notices will double to £60 but more importantly, the offence is now one which carries a licence endorsement of 3 penalty points. If you fight the case and go to trial and lose, whilst the penalty points will remain at 3, the fine could be as much as £2,500.
What does the regulation say about hand-held phones?
The use of a hand-held phone or SIMILIAR hand-held device while driving is prohibited. A hand-held device is something that "is or must be held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call or performing any other interactive communication function".Yes even using your ipod to access music tracks could be deemed prohibited.
A device is "similar" to a mobile phone if it performs an interactive communication function by transmitting and receiving data. Some PDAs
You may ask What about my hands free set?
If it can be operated without holding it. Pushing buttons on a phone while it is in a holder or dashboard device is not prohibited by this offence, provided you do not hold the phone. But if an accident occurs, you can still be subject to prosecution for careless or dangerous driving.
The way to think about it is-If you need to hold it then it is illegal therefore texting and downloading You Tube videos is a definite No. No.
Driving includes times when stopped at traffic lights or during other road delays. In exceptional traffic jams, such as a lengthy stoppage on a motorway, it would be clear that someone wasn’t driving if the engine was off.You may recall an incident where a lorry delivering chicks overturned near Glasgow leaving hundreds of birds running all over the carriageway.The attending police were involved in charging drivers who were stuck in that 4 hour delaty with using their mobiles!
There is an exemption for calls to 999 (or 112) in genuine emergencies where it is unsafe or impractical to stop. There is also an exemption for the use of 2-way radios
Interestingly employers can be found guilty of this offence if their employees use a hand-held phone while driving?
The regulations apply to "anyone who causes or permits any other person" to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving. If your job depends upon you making and receiving calls whilst on the road your boss better invest in a good handsfree set or he might end up in court too.
Employers will not be liable just because they supplied a telephone or because they phoned an employee who was driving.
Use of other devices such as GPS and PDAs are prohibited if the device performs an interactive communication function by sending and receiving data.
Normally this offence would be delt with by a fixed penalty notice however some drivers have also been prosecuted for careless driving or worse still dangerous driving.
I would not expect this to happen unless there had been an accident of some kind however police policy and prosecution policy can change on a whim or as a kneejerk reaction to bad press covreage of some accident.
Get a hands free set but if you have been charged already get a good road traffic lawyer.