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Mobile Phone Driving Offence – Everything You Need to Know

Mobile phones have become an essential part of our lives, but they are also a major cause of motoring accidents. Making a phone call, texting, or browsing social media can all distract you from driving or affect your reaction times. This is why using a mobile phone while driving is strictly prohibited in the UK with serious penalties if you are caught. These include fines, points in your license, driving bans, and potentially even prison.

In this article, we will explain why using your phone while driving is so dangerous, what the potential legal ramifications are, and what to do if you are charged with a mobile phone driving offence.

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Why Using Your Phone when Driving is so Dangerous?

Driving requires your full attention. Any time you are not focusing on driving is a potential risk to yourself and others. This includes when you’re stopped at traffic lights, in slow moving traffic or pulling into the driveway of your house. When using your phone while driving it can affect:

  • Road awareness – When driving, you need to be aware of your surroundings and any potential hazards at all time. Using a mobile phone reduces this ability as it draws your attention away from the road and prevents you from noticing or anticipating potential dangers. Furthermore, you may be so distracted by what’s on your phone that you are unaware of how fast you’re going. This can lead to dangerous situations which cause you to crash or which force other drivers to take evasive action resulting in an accident.
  • Reaction times– If you get distracted by looking at messages or browsing Facebook, this can result in delayed reactions which could cause lead to an accident. This may mean rear ending another car, cutting someone off, hitting a pedestrian, going through red lights and many other dangerous actions. All of these can potentially cause huge damage to vehicles and property, significant injuries, shock and trauma, and even death.
  • Vehicle control – Holding your phone in one hand means that you don’t have both hands free to operate the vehicle safely.
  • Emotions – It is important to stay calm when driving but reading an exciting text, or seeing something on social media that annoys you can cause you to become emotional which could affect you judgement.

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The UK Law for Phone Use While Driving

In the UK, it is illegal to use a phone while operating any type of vehicle. This includes using your phone for calls and texts but also using apps on your smartphone even if you are at stop lights or stuck in traffic. The law states that you can only handle a mobile device if you are safely parked or if you need to report an emergency.

UK Statistics for Phone Driving Offences

  • You are four times more likely to be involved in a road traffic accident if using your mobile phone while driving.
  • Your reaction times are 30% slower when using your mobile phone than those at the limit of drink driving.
  • 47% of drivers between 25-34 years old admit to having made or received phone calls while driving. This number is 25% across all drivers.
  • 57% of all drivers use their mobile phone while their car is running but stationary ie at traffic lights.
  • 36% of drivers between 25 and 34 years old admit to sending texts, using social media, or sending emails while they are driving. This number is 16% of all drivers.
  •  Using a mobile phone while driving led to 33 deaths in the UK in 2017 alone.
  • You are six times more likely to cause an accident by sending a text than drink driving.

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What are the Potential Penalties for Using Your Phone While Driving?

If you admit guilt or are found guilty, the judge will consider various factors when deciding on your sentence. These may or may not include:

  • The seriousness of the offence – How much harm was caused to others as a consequence of your actions? This can include death, injury to yourself or other road users pedestrians, and damage to property.
  • Whether it is your first offence – If so, you may get a more lenient sentence, but if you have been convicted repeatedly in the past for similar offences, this will likely result in stiffer penalties being imposed.
  • Your level of remorse – This will be determined by how you have behaved when caught by the police and in court, and whether you admit responsibility for what happened.
  • Whether there was an emergency – If this can be proven, it may reduce culpability somewhat but only where such action is deemed reasonable on account of said emergency.
  • Any mitigating personal circumstances – These will include any extenuating factors that may not apply to other people who are facing similar charges.

Typically, if caught using your phone while driving, you will be fined up to £200 and three points will be added to your license. However, if the conditions of the offence were more serious, there is the potential for further action being taken including a heavy fine, a driving suspension or ban, or even imprisonment.


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What Can You Do if Charged with Using Your Phone While Driving?

Firstly, do not panic! Many people are worried about being disqualified from driving so much so that they plead guilty without first seeking professional legal advice which ultimately ends up having more serious consequences than need be. So long as there was no damage caused nor injury incurred by yourself or others then your case stands a better chance of succeeding. Especially if this is your first offence then it may be best to plead not guilty and attempt to fight the charges.

However you decide to plead, hire a lawyer who specialises in motoring offences such as mobile phone driving charges. Discuss your case with your lawyer, and present all of the evidence that might help in showing that you were not using your phone when driving and/or there was an emergency which necessitated its use. Your lawyer will be able to decide what evidence is useful and what isn’t so don’t leave anything out.

It is very important that you are totally open and honest with your legal team about any extenuating circumstances, such as being lost or having pulled off to the side of the road to enter a location into Google Maps. If you are not transparent at this stage, your lies could potentially come back and hurt you later on during court proceedings before a judge and jury. Anything you lie about or leave out could end up being used against you during cross-examination, and if you haven’t told your lawyers the truth, they will blindsided and won’t be able to defend you to their full abilities.

Finally, if at first you don’t succeed, there is the option for an appeal. If you decide on this, it’s best to get legal advice before proceeding. It may cost more if you decide to appeal after losing, because by then the case has already been heard in court and it will be necessary for your lawyers to start from scratch again.

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How to Choose the Right Lawyer for Your Case

When it comes to choosing the right lawyer for your case you should always do research before committing yourself. Make sure that any lawyer you are considering has adequate experience in dealing with cases like yours and ensure that their track record is good.

In order to do so, ask them about how many times they have represented defendants against mobile phone driving offences, and what percentage of these were successful? You can also check online reviews on the firm to get an idea if they are trustworthy enough to handle your case.;

Asking questions such as ‘How would you go about preparing my case?’ or ‘How much will this cost me?’, are great places to start.

Don’t be afraid to ask for proof that they can handle cases like yours. Lawyers should have no problem providing examples of past successful defences against mobile phone driving offences. It is important not to just take their word but rather find out if they truly know what they are doing. If the lawyer seems unwilling, nervous or confused about your questions, then you may want to consider looking elsewhere. The last thing anyone wants when fighting serious charges is an underprepared attorney who does not understand how these types of matters work and therefore cannot adequately defend them successfully.

At Caddick Davies, we are happy to answer any question you may have to prove that we are the right lawyers to help you win your mobile phone driving case.


Contact Caddick Davies Solicitors today

Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly advice


How will a Lawyer Benefit Your Case?

When hiring a lawyer to represent you in court it is important that you understand what they can offer. The main benefit of employing a lawyer with experience fighting mobile phone driving offences cases successfully is that they will know everything there is to know about the law, and what judges and juries look for in these cases etc. They will already know what strategies worked successfully on past occasions and which did not. They also know how to handle things like cross-examination by an experienced prosecutor who might try to trip you up or catch your lies.

In terms of your specific case, your lawyers will review all of the evidence and witness statements before deciding how to present it. They should be able to highlight any crucial details which might have been overlooked such as claims by police officers or witnesses who may not actually appear reliable.

There may be times when your lawyers advise you to plead ignorance or innocence because if you try to fabricate an alibi, this could easily backfire later down the line when the prosecutors start asking questions.


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Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly advice


Other Dangerous Things You Shouldn’t do When Driving

In addition to using a mobile phone while driving there are other things that you should never do in order to stay safe and within the law:

  • Never drink alcohol or take drugs before driving because it is both dangerous and illegal to drive under the influence. Even though drivers are legally allowed a small number of alcoholic units the best thing is to avoid drinking altogether when you drive.
  • Don’t drive with loud music playing from your car stereo speakers because this can be a huge distraction. Turn the volume down to the level of background music.
  • Never use your morning drive to work as an opportunity for doing your makeup or eating your breakfast on the go. You should be focused on the road at all times with both hand on the steering wheel.
  • Avoid being distracted by any arguments or excitable conversations with passengers because this could cause you to lose focus. While this can be difficult, especially if you have children, it’s very important.
  • Always stay within the speed limit and adjust your speed and braking times accordingly for poor weather and road conditions. Be extra careful in the rain and ice.
  • Make sure that your vehicle is in good working order and has regular services and maintenance. This will ensure there are no accidents caused by vehicle malfunction.

mobile phone driving court case


Contact Caddick Davies Solicitors today

Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly advice


Conclusion

Remember that the best way to avoid a mobile phone driving offence is to put your phone away when you’re behind the wheel. However, if you do find yourself facing charges, don’t hesitate to contact Caddick Davies today. We will always offer a free consultation and we promise to answer any questions or concerns regarding the specifics of your case.

Motoring Lawyer at Caddick Davies Solicitors
Caddick Davies is recognised as one of England and Wales’ leading motoring law firms, offering specialist Speeding Solicitors, Drink Driving Solicitors & Dangerous Driving Solicitors.We provide advice and representation on all motoring offences including speeding, the avoidance of disqualification on penalty points or “totting up” (exceptional hardship), driving without due care and attention (careless driving), dangerous driving, drink driving, as well as a range of services related to medical revocation of a driving licence.
Neil Davies

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