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DRIVERS - PUT THE PHONE DOWN!

New law is in force which increases the amount of penalty points for driving with a phone to 6 points, and a minimum fine of £200, and a criminal conviction.

Driving with a mobile phone has been a punishable offence since 2003 but the government felt road users do not head to the law so they have doubled the punishment.  It is an offence that often catches people out; we’ve all been stuck in traffic and can just hear the mobile pinging away with texts and emails BUT the temptation to have a sneaky look must be avoided at all costs.

 A mobile phone is deemed to be held if it is held at some point when making/placing a call; there has to be some ‘interactive communication function’ and whilst there is no clear definition of such communication, it clearly includes acceding messages, sending pictures etc.

Even if you have a fully hands-free system, you still must be careful not to pick up the device at any point to avoid being caught by the law. Generally, the exception to the rule is where you have a genuine emergency and it is unsafe or impracticable to stop driving.

Newly qualified drivers in particular need to watch out as an accumulation of 6 points means their ‘new driver’s licence’ will be revoked and a further driver’s test will need to be undertaken.

Many drivers get caught out when their vehicle is stationery but the engine is turned on. We see this a lot of this with drink driver cases where people are unaware that just be being sat in the driver’s seat with the engine on means the law kicks in so the expectation is that you are not on your phone or have not consumed excess alcohol over the prescribed legal limit.

In serious cases, drivers can expect to face disqualification and a fine of up to £2,000. Driving whilst using a mobile phone can be an example of careless driving as well so it is important that drivers appreciate the consequences of using a phone on the road don’t stop necessarily with facing a conviction for one offence.

If you have any questions about the new road traffic law, please do contact us and we can arrange a free 20-minute telephone appointment for you.

Drive Safely!

Suezanne

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