Driving Whilst Using a Mobile Phone
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From Wednesday 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).
This means that 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. 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.
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 seek the best advice immediately. If you are cautioned by the police, you have the right to legal advice before answering ANY questions.
THE GOOD NEWS
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”.