With the ever busier lives which many of us lead, it becomes increasingly tempting to take a call whilst driving, or read a quick text message whilst stopped at traffic lights.
But next time you are distracted by the irritating flashing notification or catchy ring tone of your phone you must stop and think whether responding is really worth the potential consequences which could follow.
It is an offence to use a hand held phone or similar “interactive communication” device whilst driving. driving. It is also illegal to use a phone or similar device while supervising a learner driver or rider. If you are lucky, you will be offered a fixed penalty of 3 points and a £100 fine, otherwise the case can be dealt with at Court where the Magistrates could impose a potential disqualification and a fine of up to £1000!
Tot up too many of these offences, and their consequential points and you would face a 6 months totting up ban unless a successful exceptional hardship application is made. Although we are extremely successful at making such applications, it is a far simpler and cheaper solution to avoid committing these offences in the first place.
“But I wasn’t making a call?!!”
– It matters not whether you were actually engaged in a conversation at the time when you are caught by the police. The term “using” covers most eventualities such as reading a text message. Even if you simply had the phone in your hand, you could alternatively be prosecuted for not being in proper control of your vehicle.
It gets worse; if the use of your mobile phone is deemed to have affected the your manner of driving, the police can prosecute for more serious offences such as driving without due care and attention (careless driving) or dangerous driving in order to secure a much more severe punishment.
Please remember that the only time when a driver can use their phone is if the vehicle is safely parked, or to call 999 or 112 in an emergency if it is impractical to stop.
Not only is using a mobile phone whilst driving dangerous for you and those around you, it could also result in long lasting legal consequences, which would be much more difficult to ignore than the call on your phone.
If you have been caught using your mobile telephone whilst driving or would like further advice about any motoring offence, please call 0333 323 1830 for free initial advice.
Article written by expert motoring lawyer, Alison Ashworth