Our motoring lawyers are experts in mobile phone offences, where you have been accused of using a mobile phone while driving. We are based in Newcastle upon Tyne and South Shields and offer representation throughout the North East. Our solicitors have many years’ experience of dealing with all types of motoring offences and are best ranked in the North East.
Penalty for using a mobile phone while driving
From 1 March 2017, the penalty for driving a vehicle while using a mobile phone increased to 6 penalty points and a fine of up to £1,000 (or £2,500 if you are driving a lorry or a bus).
It’s illegal to hold and use a phone, sat nav, tablet, or any device that can send or receive data, while driving or riding a motorcycle.
This means you must not use a device in your hand for any reason, whether online or offline.
For example, you must not text, make calls, take photos or videos, or browse the web.
The law still applies to you if you’re:
- stopped at traffic lights
- queuing in traffic
- supervising a learner driver
- driving a car that turns off the engine when you stop moving
- holding and using a device that’s offline or in flight mode
If you are a new driver (within two years of passing your driving test) and are convicted of this offence, you will have your licence revoked this means you will revert to being a learner driver and have to re-sit both parts of your driving test.
All drivers will face a totting-up disqualification if you are caught using a phone twice in a three-year period, or have 6 penalty points for any other motoring offence within a 3-year period.
When can you use a phone while driving?
Driving is not restricted to the vehicle moving forward or in reverse. It includes being stationary in traffic or even pulled to the side of the road if the engine is running. You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it is unsafe or unpractical to stop.
You can use hands-free phones, sat navs and two-way radios when you’re driving. But if the police think you’re distracted and not in control of your vehicle you could still get stopped and prosecuted for an offence of careless driving.
Supervisors beware – it is an offence to supervise a learner driver while using a hand-held mobile telephone.
With these potential consequences, it is more important than ever that drivers stopped by the police to seek the best advice immediately. If you are cautioned by the police, you have the right to legal advice before answering ANY questions.
You can only use a device held in your hand if:
- you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop
- you’re safely parked
- you’re making a contactless payment in a vehicle that is not moving, for example at a drive-through restaurant
- you’re using the device to park your vehicle remotely
Using devices hand-free
You can use devices with hands-free access, as long as you do not hold them at any time during usage. Hands-free access means using, for example:
- a Bluetooth headset
- voice command
- a dashboard holder or mat
- a windscreen mount
- a built-in sat nav
The device must not block your view of the road and traffic ahead.
Avoiding penalty points and driving disqualification
You can avoid penalty points or disqualification from driving depending upon the circumstances surrounding the allegation or your personal situation.
If you receive 12 or more penalty points within a three-year period, you should be disqualified under the Totting-Up system. However, you can avoid disqualification if you can prove that you would suffer “exceptional hardship”.
In accordance with rules published by the SRA, as of December 2018 all firms offering this type of work must publish details of prices and personnel undertaking the work. Please see our dedicated fees page for more information.
We can offer appointments at short notice for immediate advice on your situation, for your convenience these are offered by Zoom or telephone.
If you would rather meet with our solicitors in person, then you can book an appointment at our Newcastle office:
56 Westgate Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 5XU
Based in Newcastle upon Tyne and South Shields, our solicitors are best ranked in the North East. Our driving offence solicitors have many years’ experience in dealing with a variety of motoring and traffic offences and are here to help take the stress out of your situation.