On a survey carried out by the RAC in 2015, one-third of us admitted using a hand-held device while driving. In 2016, the last date when figures are available, there were 36 mobile phone related fatalities.

Mobile Phone Use While Driving Penalties

The penalty for mobile phone use when driving was increased in March 2017 to 6 points, and a minimum fine of £200. It is estimated that around £14.6 million in fines are handed down each year.

Theresa May has vowed to make mobile phone use by drivers as socially unacceptable as drink driving. South Wales police have set up a SNAP initiative whereby drivers can online report other drivers for mobile phone use.  They are particularly keen on witnesses who can provide dashcam evidence.

Throughout the UK, you will start to see road signs which will electronically detect and warn drivers where mobile phones are in use in the vehicle.  The sign will detect when signals are being transmitted by a mobile phone inside a car, and then flash a symbol of a mobile phone with a line through it, to remind drivers not to use a handset.  The scanner can pick up both mobile phone radio signals and Bluetooth signals.  Those using Bluetooth for handsfree connection will not be warned by the sign. 

What the Law Says About Mobile Phone Use

The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment number 4) Regulations 2003 came into force in December 2003. They insert Regulation 110 into the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use Regulations) 1986.  Regulation 110 prohibits a person from driving or causing or permitting a person to drive a motor vehicle on a road if the driver is using a handheld mobile phone or handheld device.  It also prohibits a person from using a handheld mobile phone or handheld device while supervising a learner driver who is driving.

The term “mobile phone” covers cell phones and smartphones.  A phone or device is to be treated as handheld 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.  A phone or device will be treated as “in use” when it is making or receiving a call or performing any other interactive communication function whether with another person or not. 

The particular use to which the phone must be put is not defined as an element of the offence.  The prosecution must simply prove that the phone or the other device was handheld by the person at some point during its use when the person was driving a vehicle on the road. 

Under existing case law, a person may be regarded as driving while the engine is running, even though the vehicle is stationary.  It is only legal to use a mobile phone when safely parked or in a 999 emergency.

How We Can Help After Accidents Involving Distracted Drivers

Conway Accident Law Practice works exclusively for injury claimants, helping clients across Scotland who have suffered road traffic accidents that affect their ability to work and cause ongoing pain and complication receive fair compensation for their injuries. This includes accidents caused by another driver's unsafe cell phone use.

For a no-obligation chat, call us on 0800 009 6953 or send us an email.

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