We have recently received a number of enquiries from people who have been pulled over by the police and penalised for using their mobile telephone while driving.
The law surrounding this area was introduced in 2003, making it an offence to use a hand-held mobile or other interactive communications device while driving, or even if you are stationary in traffic and have the engine running.
If you fall foul of this law, the officer involved will usually deal with the situation by the imposition of a £60 fixed-penalty notice as well as three penalty points on your driving licence, although in some instances you could still be summonsed to court.
Hands-free devices are by far the safest option if you need to talk, but you must not have the ‘phone in your hand when you are driving. Even if you are using a hands-free device, if the officer thinks that your manner of driving has been affected, you could find yourself open to prosecution on the basis that you were not in control of your vehicle.
There is an exemption in that you are permitted to call 999 in an emergency, as long as you can satisfy the police or the court that it was unsafe for you to pull over in order to do so.
If you were to have an accident while on the ‘phone, be it in your hand or not, it makes any related offence such as careless or dangerous driving much more serious.
If you find yourself having been issued with a fixed-penalty notice and want some advice about whether to accept it or not, or if you find yourself summonsed to court for this or any other traffic offence, you can contact our Criminal Defence team by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org