Jonathan Morrissey

Consultant Solicitor and Head of Crime, Motoring Matters & Inquests

DATE PUBLISHED: 30 Jan 2017 LAST UPDATED: 30 Jan 2017

Important Update: Mobile Phone Use

As you may have seen in the News and on Social Media recently, both the Government and the Police are launching an attack on mobile phones being used in Motor Vehicles of any kind.

The Government’s angle and part of this attack is to double the number of points being issued for instances of “Use” to six, in one stroke therefore putting offending motorists half way to an obligatory six month period of Disqualification.

The Police attitude is to target users of mobile phones, and to themselves issue tickets as well as encouraging members of the public to report incidents. Any Police Officer, not just Traffic Officers will now be looking out for people using phones in cars and will bring a greater number of Prosecutions to bare.

Motorists should please be aware that the law against the use of a mobile phone in a vehicle does not simply relate to making a phone call. It would be useful if Clients were aware of the following definitions:

MOBILE TELEPHONE: Does not simply mean an iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or similar device. It means:

  • Any device being used to make a telephone call other that over a hands free setup.
  • Any device capable of communication with the world outside of the vehicle by means of Mobile Networks, Wi-Fi or even Bluetooth. The device does not have to be in use.

USE: In contested proceedings, this word has been given its widest possible meaning and people have been convicted in circumstances which include, but are not limited to:

  • Making or receiving a phone call.
  • Making or receiving a text.
  • Posting or reading messages of Facebook or Twitter.
  • Searching on the Internet.

These situations may seem obvious but consider the following:

  • Using a device to change music tracks.
  • Using a device to increase or decrease volume.
  • Playing games or reading maps.
  • HOLDING such a device whether using it or not.

The repercussions for fully qualified drivers are you will be half way to possible disqualification. For Learner or Probationary drivers, it means immediate revocation of your licence. If you are ever in danger of accumulating twelve points you should always seek our legal advice.

A further word of caution is that many prosecutions of this nature are being dealt with by the newly introduced Single Justice Procedure. Allowing the Court to use this procedure is NOT beneficial to Clients interests and should be objected to in all cases.

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