Mobile phones, namely smartphones, are the number one device in the UK. People are spending 2 hours online on their smartphones every day, which is double the amount of time spent on PCs and laptops. Yet, mobile phone offences whilst driving are on the rise. Here are the facts you need to know for Road Safety Week 2016.

The Department for Transport’s stats showed that in 2015 there were 440 accidents in Britain due to a driver being distracted by their phone. 22 of these accidents were fatal, and 75 were very serious.

What does the law say?

It is prohibited to use a hand held mobile phone when driving since this legislation was passed in 2003. A hand held device is classed as something that “is or must be held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call or performing any other interactive communication function”. This prohibition applies to all types of vehicles, including: cars, taxis, motorbikes, coaches, and buses.

What are the penalties?

If you are caught using a hand held mobile whilst driving, you will automatically be given a fixed penalty notice; this is a £100 fine and 3 points on your licence. Not only that, but your case could be put through the courts and you may face being disqualified as well as being slapped with a £1,000 fine. If you’re a new driver and get 6+ penalty points, you will lose your licence.

When are you allowed to use your mobile when driving?

You are only permitted to use your mobile if it’s an emergency and you need to call 999 or 112 and you are unable to stop; or if you are safely parked. Don’t get caught out by using your phone whilst in a traffic jam as this is still considered by the Law to be driving.

Can I contest my case?

Yes, you are allowed to defend yourself if you take your case to Court. The Police have to prove that you were on your phone, and if it is found you were not, the case will be dismissed. You will still have to endure the costs of defending your case.

Going hands-free

This can all be combatted by going hands free! You can use hands-free phones, two way radios, and sat navs whilst driving. However, if the Police think you are distracted and not in proper control of your vehicle, you can still get fined.

What’s your opinion on mobile phones when driving? Let us know by tweeting @SleepingGiantM!