The Government has launched a Consultation with the intent of further restricting the use of mobile phones whilst driving and removing anomalies in the current law.
In our previous article entitled ‘Use of Mobile Phone Allowed’, we highlighted the case of DPP v Barreto which exposed the loopholes existing within the legislation.
Sukhdip Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors outlines the intent of this Consultation to remove the existing failings in the law.
If you are facing the prospect of proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court in relation to any motoring offences of any nature, it is imperative that you seek expert legal guidance to consider your position, including any potential defence which may be available to you.
The team at Kangs Solicitors is here to assist and please feel free to call one of our offices for a no obligation confidential discussion as follows:
We are rated top tier of both the leading law directories, Legal 500 and Chamber & Partners, for our work in the field of criminal defence.
The Current Situation | Kangs Motoring Solicitors
- It has been a specific offence since 2003 to use a hand-held mobile telephone or other hand-held device for the purpose of any interactive communication, i.e. messaging, making or receiving calls or accessing the internet while driving.
- Any driver convicted of this offence would normally be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of two hundred pounds and six penalty points endorsed on their driving licence.
- One of the shortcomings with the offence is that it only captures certain types of use of mobile phones. As explained in our previous article, in DPP v Barreto the High Court decided that the use in question was not prohibited by sections 41D of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Regulation 110 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 as the phone was not being used for interactive communication purposes but to access an internal function on the phone.
The Loophole | Kangs Road Traffic Solicitors
- The term ‘interactive communication’ essentially means that a driver is communicating with another person through voice calls, texting or email or communicating with the internet (searching for or looking at a website).
- Offences currently not covered by this description are those where the mobile phone is used for purposes other than interactive communications being ‘stand alone functions’ such as searching for music or, as in the case of Barreto, recording video footage which do not involve use of the internet or communicating with another person or device and, as such are not covered by the existing law.
The Government’s Proposals | Kangs Motoring Offences Team
- It is maintained as part of the Consultation that the distinction between ‘interacting communication functions’ and stand alone functions’ is entirely artificial and one which generates problems both in principle and in practice.
- Accordingly, the proposal is to broaden the existing offence so that it covers both ‘stand alone functions’ and ‘interactive communication functions’.
- However, the proposals will still only apply in circumstances where a driver picks up a phone to use it whilst driving and the use of a phone positioned in a cradle, and used whilst remaining in that cradle, as, for example, a ‘Satnav’ will not be affected.
- Accordingly, if these proposals are enacted as the law, it will be an offence to pick up a phone even if the intent is simply to check on the time, caller ID or to reject a call.
Who Can I Contact? | Kangs National Motoring Offences Defence Solicitors
The team at Kangs Solicitors assists clients facing motoring prosecutions of every nature on a daily basis and if you need expert help and advice please do not hesitate to contact one of our team through: