An offence since 2003:
In the UK, since December 2003, it has been an offence to use a hand-held mobile when driving, or while parked if your engine is still running. Should you receive an incoming call, ignore it completely, or until you have pulled into a service area or lay-by – and switched off your engine.
Penalties are becoming steeper:
As things stand, the minimum fine is 100GBP and three points on your licence. You are likely to receive this fine if you are seen by the side of the road, engine running and using your mobile. If the police have followed you for two miles in the outside lane of the M1 doing 70 mph, be prepared for a lot worse.
The offence could see you in court and receiving a fine of up to 1,000GBP plus a disqualification. If you are caught using a mobile in a goods vehicle or coach, then expect a 2500GBP fine and if disqualified your job will go.
Should you be involved in an accident due to mobile phone use, especially if it ends in someone’s death, then a prison sentence is pretty much a certainty.
Police are actively targeting mobile phone lawbreakers:
Police are increasingly on the look-out for those breaking the no-mobile laws, and the reason is simple. Far too many drivers, reps, professional drivers, company CEO’s, housewives, and grandmothers, continue to reach for their ringing mobile when driving.
So determined are the authorities to clamp down on this unsocial and dangerous behaviour, that one police force has been using an unmarked HGV tractor unit, to patrol the roads in their area. The extra height afforded to the driver allows them to see over the top of vehicles in front, and across three lanes of motorway traffic. With the success of this campaign, there may well be an unmarked police lorry in an area near you soon.
An employer who allows or causes staff to use hand held mobiles while on company business could himself be prosecuted.
Hands-free mobiles can still legally be used in the UK when driving. However, even using a hands free kit, if you are deemed to be driving erratically, or not in full control of your vehicle when using a hands-free set, you could still be liable for prosecution. The same fines and point’s loss as using a standard mobile would apply.
The one exemption is in an emergency where it is unsafe to pull over; you may still make a 999 or 112 call.
The only other exemption is a two way radio.
Click here to have further information.
Ensure you comply with the law. To avoid the urge of reaching for that ringing mobile when driving, switch it off before getting behind the wheel.