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WHEN DID THE NEW MOBILE PHONE LAWS TAKE EFFECT?

While initial mobile phone driving laws first appeared in 2003 and became more established in 2007, since March 1st 2017, the penalties have become a lot more serious, with many possible penalties doubling from this date. Mobile phone laws were first introduced over 15 years ago but have seen significant changes over the years.

The new mobile phone laws that took effect on March 2017 are more severe. Please make efforts to understand the dos and don’ts when it comes to mobile phone usage on the roads in the UK. You could be faced with a penalty, so understand and adhere to the new mobile phone driving law guidelines. Should you be charged, you should consider expert legal advice. Caddick Davies Solicitors are available throughout England and Wales and offer reliable legal assistance in this area of motoring law.

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WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR USING YOUR PHONE WHILE DRIVING?

The penalty for using a handheld mobile device while driving in the UK was £100 and three penalty points from 2013. However, since March 1 2017, when the new mobile phone driving laws came into effect, the penalty has doubled. If you get caught using a mobile phone while driving today, you will receive a £200 fine and get six penalty points on your licence.

It is also important to understand that under the new rules, a new driver could get disqualified from driving instantly if you get caught using a mobile phone when driving. This can happen if you are within your first 2 years as a driving licence holder and you accumulate up to six penalty points. To be allowed to drive again on the road, you will be required to retake the practical and theory tests that you took when passing your driving exam.

You should know that instead of a fixed penalty, the police also have the power to provide awareness courses on handheld mobile phone use instead. On average, according to research, two in three drivers caught using mobile phones while driving prefer an awareness course to penalty points and a fine. There is some debate within Government on continuing the awareness course as an alternative but some senior police officers have publicly supported the use of these educational courses.

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IS IT ILLEGAL TO HOLD A PHONE WHILE DRIVING?

A simple answer to this question is yes. It is illegal to hold a phone while driving. You may be texting, looking at the maps app, or talking to someone on the other end. Holding a mobile phone device classes as an offence. You are only allowed to use a mobile phone if it is fully hands-free.

You cannot touch, pick up or operate the phone, even momentarily. The only time you may have a legal defence to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving is during an emergency, where you can use a hand-held phone if you have to call 999 or 112 and it would be unsafe or impractical to stop. You are allowed to pull over to use your mobile phone, but only when it is safe, legal and convenient to do so.

 

CAN YOU USE A HANDS-FREE PHONE WHILE DRIVING?

The new law on mobile phone use in cars allows you to use a hands-free mobile phone device while driving. You should ensure that any hands-free device is fully set up prior to driving to enable you to receive calls when driving with no handling of the device.

Take care not to get distracted by the device you have even when it is hands-free. If the police believe you are distracted, they may stop you, since they have the power to do so across the UK. You could actually be fined by the police for being distracted in such a way, so be careful.

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IS IT ILLEGAL TO USE YOUR PHONE AS A SAT 0NAV?

It is illegal to hold your handheld mobile device while driving even if using it as a sat nav. Should you get caught, you cannot claim that you were following mapping when it comes to a hand-held device. That said, using your phone as a sat nav is not illegal if you are adhering to the new mobile phone laws.

As per the new rules, you are only allowed to use a hands-free device while driving. So, if you want to use your mobile phone for navigation, you will have to fix the phone to the dashboard. Others prefer having it fixed to the inside of the windscreen. To use a phone as a sat nav, ensure it’s both hands-free and doesn’t obstruct your view.

 

HOW DO YOU FIND THE RIGHT LEGAL EXPERT FOR A MOBILE PHONE DRIVING CHARGE?

For expert legal advice on the new mobile phone driving law, you will need qualified and experienced motoring lawyers. Caddick Davies Solicitors specialise exclusively in motoring offences. We have highly knowledgeable specialists who can offer legal assistance when you need it.

To understand more about mobile phone law, call us on 03334 432 366. You can also email us or request a callback via our website. We have excellent lawyers who can offer reliable legal help in motoring courts.

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