Mobile phone offences are a hot topic at the moment and police are clamping down on drivers using their phones.

There are three offences:

  1. Using the hand-held device while driving
  2. Causing or permitting another to drive while using a hand-held device
  3. Supervising a provisional licence holder while the supervisor is using a hand held device

The device is one, other than a two way radio, which performs an interactive communication function by transmitting and receiving data.Is it lawful to use a mobile phone with a hands free kit and still have a conversation while driving?

The Regulations define a hand held device as follows:“a mobile phone or other device is to be treated as hand-held 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.”

An offence would be committed by:

  • Using the phone and holding it in the hand when driving.
  • At some point during the course of receiving or making a call or sending a text etc, the driver holds the phone in his hand, even if momentarily.
  • Holding the phone to answer an incoming call even if immediately after holding the phone to answer it, he puts it down and uses the hands-free kit.

An offence would not be committed by:

  • A call being made or answered by pressing a button on an earpiece or the phone keypad, when the phone is mounted on a dashboard holder, because the phone is not being held at any time even momentarily.
  • If the phone is being used for an emergency to call the emergency services on 112 or 999 in response to a genuine emergency and it is unsafe or impracticable to stop driving to make that call.

The penalty will be £2,500 fine, discretionary disqualification and three points obligatory endorsement and so not to be treated lightly.

It is essential for the Crown to have evidence that the phone is being or has been held by the driver. We have successfully helped clients avoid penalty points for a large range of Road Traffic Offences by scrutinising the evidence and mounting a robust defence to the charge.