What is the penalty for using a mobile phone while driving? 3 penalty points and a £100 fine.
Safety camera vans now enforce mobile phone offences, as well as drivers not wearing a seat belt and speeding motorists.
Camera operators trigger the laser camera when they see these offences being committed and they are recorded on the DVD system as evidence. The DVD then goes to the Driver Diversion Team where staff send a request for driver information to the registered keeper of the vehicle.
Frequently asked questions
What is the law about on mobile phones while driving?
It is illegal to drive a vehicle and use a hand-held mobile phone or similar device. It is also illegal to supervise a learner driver while using a hand-held phone. ‘Driving’ is also defined as when the engine is running, so pulling into a lay-by and not switching off the ignition, or stopping at traffic lights also counts as driving.
What is wrong with using a mobile phone while driving?
It is dangerous because a telephone conversation (or texting) distracts from the mental concentration needed to drive safely. Research shows that a driver’s reaction times are up to 50 per cent slower than normal when driving and using a phone, and 30 per cent worse than when driving under the influence of alcohol.
Is a driver allowed to use other equipment like a hands-free kit?
Although it is not illegal to use a hands-free kit for a mobile phone, they are also a distraction and you risk prosecution for not having proper control of a vehicle if the police see you driving poorly while using one.
What about employers?
Employers should not ask their staff to use a mobile phone while driving and can also be liable to prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter Act if an incident occurs.
Get the Message
Talking, texting or downloading data onto your phone requires you to concentrate on that activity. Research has proved that if you use your mobile phone (hands-free or hand-held) whilst driving, your reaction times are worse than if you drive under the influence of alcohol and you significantly miss more road warning signs.
If a case goes to court then, in addition to the points, discretionary disqualification can be added on top of the existing maximum fine of £1,000. This can rise to £2,500 in the case of a driver of a bus, coach or goods vehicle.
In 2011 a total of 5,133 people were issued fixed penalty notices in Kent for using a mobile phone while driving.
The message is clear - Just Drive!
Before you start the engine of your car, van, bus or truck, switch off your mobile. Set your phone to voicemail or call divert, that way you will not miss a call. If you are on a long journey take regular breaks, get out and walk about and make your calls then.
There have been a number of research reports identifying the danger of using any mobile phone while driving. Click on the following link to open ROSPA's document - 'The Risk of Using a Mobile Phone While Driving'