Ban it like Beckham
As you may well be aware, David Beckham got banned from driving yesterday (9 May 2019). Being banned from driving can happen to anyone, and the rich and famous are not immune from traffic law (contrary to how things appeared when the same man was acquitted for speeding last year). This blog will explain why that happened and what you can do if you find yourself in a similar situation.
Firstly, David Beckham was spotted using his mobile phone behind the wheel of a car. This is an offence which, if offered a fixed penalty, carries a £200 fine and 6 penalty points. (It is worth noting that Beckham did not get a fixed penalty because this would have taken him to 12 points on his licence which means he was not eligible for a fixed penalty.
Notwithstanding that fact, magistrates endorsed his licence with 6 points. His fine was £750 along with having to pay prosecution costs of £100 and a £75 surcharge.) If you are behind the wheel of a car, regardless of whether you are in slow moving traffic or stopped at traffic lights, you are not allowed to use a mobile phone. The only exceptions are that you are safely parked or making a 999 call. The provisions do not just apply to mobile phones but a range of handheld devices such as an iPad, a tablet, a Kindle connected to the internet, a sat nav connected to the internet.
If you are going to use your mobile phone whilst driving you need to have handsfree access to this device e.g.:
- a bluetooth headset;
- voice command;
- a dashboard holder or mat;
- a windscreen mount;
- a built-in sat nav.
If you have been accused of using a handheld device whilst driving, and you dispute that you were using such a device, please do not hesitate to contact us.
David Beckham was disqualified because he previously had 6 points on his licence for two different speeding matters (which gave him three points each). Combined with the 6 points for driving whilst using a mobile phone, this took him to 12 points. This would ordinarily mean that a person is disqualified by way of “totting-up”, and indeed David Beckham was. However, if someone accumulates 12 points, it is not set in stone that they will be disqualified, as will be outlined below.
There is a procedure called Exceptional Hardship, which is where the Magistrates consider that it is in the interest of justice for that person to keep their licence. Often, successful applications largely rely on other people suffering a hardship as a result of you losing your licence. These will be reasons along the lines of (but not limited to): that you are the sole earner in your family and losing your licence will mean you will lose your job, not be able to pay your mortgage and your family will be made homeless; alternatively, you might be the sole carer for a member of your family and they need you to drive etc. In David Beckham’s case, the magistrates were not convinced that anybody else would suffer a hardship if he lost his licence, and therefore his application was not successful.