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Home > Motoring Law Blog from Just Motor Law > Using a mobile phone while driving

Using a mobile phone while driving

Posted on 14/07/2011 14:37:00

Do you call, text, tweet, surf or Facebook on a daily basis?

According to the latest Ofcom figures, 91% of UK adults own or use a mobile phone.

It seems extraordinary now but before mobile phones, if you wanted to contact someone you called a building and hoped that the person was in. Today, we can be confident of connecting immediately, whether for business or socially.

As the use of mobile phones spread, people began to use them while driving, to avoid “down time” during a journey.
According to the Transport Research Laboratory, drivers using their mobiles had even worse reaction and stopping times than drink drivers. Spare a thought for the passengers of the Roman bus driver who was suspended this year for steering with his elbows while using a mobile in each hand!

In 2005, mobile phones were cited as a factor in 13 fatal accidents and 52 serious crashes according to the Department for Transport statistics. Consequently, using a mobile while driving was banned and in February 2007, it became a criminal offence that carried 3 points or disqualification. In 2010, the Ministry of Justice published figures indicating that men are seven times more likely than women to be accused of the using their mobiles while driving and that the numbers of drivers taken to court jumped to more than 26,000 in 2008.

So if you want to use your mobile while driving then consider buying a hands free kit. You will not fall foul of this law as long as you do not have to pick up the mobile handset to operate it.

The law says that you must not use your mobile phone while driving. “Using” means holding it at some point in order to make or receive a phone call or to perform any other interactive function. This would include texting, reading a text, using the internet or downloading photos. This law also applies to a SatNav.

It is a defence to show that you were calling the emergency services in response to a genuine emergency and that it would be neither safe nor practical to stop the vehicle.

What if you were not using a mobile phone?

Police officers are only human and they make mistakes like anyone else. If you were not using your mobile phone then it is not fair that you should be penalised.

Our team of experts will help you prepare the strongest case possible and if appropriate, assist you in obtaining phone records to demonstrate that you were not using your mobile at all. If you have a hands free kit we can present a compelling argument that there would be no need for you to touch your mobile phone.

If the Crown Prosecution Service insist on proceeding to trial, we will carefully cross examine the officers and use our skill and experience with the aim of persuading the Court to find you not guilty.