On March 1st 2017, the penalty points and fines applicable to drivers found using a mobile phone behind the wheel doubled. This means that drivers now face six penalty points and a £200 fine if they are caught. This also means that drivers who passed their driving test within the previous two years would actually have their licence taken away from them, and any drivers found using a mobile phone twice could receive 12 penalty points, a £1000 fine and disqualification.
These new penalties have left many drivers asking when it is possible to use a mobile phone behind the wheel legally; here we take a look at the answers.
When is it legal to use a mobile phone behind the wheel?
Regardless of whether you are making a phone call, texting or checking social media, the only time it is legal to use a mobile phone behind the wheel of a car is when it is parked in a safe place with the engine off. There is a discretionary proviso for using a mobile phone in an emergency in order to call 999 or 112, but this is only if there is absolutely no safe place to park.
The law is therefore very clear about this; if you want to use your mobile phone while you are in the driver’s seat of a car, you must be parked in a safe place with the engine off. Despite what some drivers believe, it is illegal to use a mobile phone while you are stopped at traffic lights or in stationary traffic. In this situation you are still considered to be in control of the vehicle, and therefore it is illegal to use your mobile phone.
Why is it so dangerous to use a mobile phone while driving?
The simple answer to this question is that using a mobile phone behind the wheel is a huge distraction. Anything that takes attention away from the road has the potential to cause an accident, and considering how immersed people can get in their mobile phones, using one while driving is incredibly dangerous.
Were you hurt by a driver using their mobile?
If you were involved in an accident with a driver who was using a mobile phone, call Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500 (or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile). We may be able to help you make a compensation claim for your injuries, and you can claim using our no-win, no-fee* service.
Date Published: March 1, 2017
Author: Rob Steen
Category: Car accident claims