The Possible Consequences of Using a Mobile Phone Whilst Driving
Why does the most important phone call always happen at the most inconvenient time? You wait by the phone all day for someone to call and when you have to pop out to run an errand in the car your ringtone jangles in your ears. Before 2003 answering the phone in the car, placing it to your ear and conversing freely was very much the norm. However, from 1st December 2003 it became against the law to use a mobile phone whilst behind the wheel – and anyone caught doing so can expect to face penalties.
What the Law Says
According to the law it’s prohibited to “use” a mobile phone whilst driving. For some people this could be interpreted as making or receiving a call whilst driving. In actual fact this can also refer to any interaction that requires you to press a button for a function. Sending a text, reading a text and connecting to the internet are amongst just some of the prosecutable offences which are covered by the verb “use”.
The term “mobile phone” also isn’t exclusive solely to mobile phones and is in actual fact, covering any handheld interactive device including MP3 players and Sat Navs. Basically, anything which transmits and receives data is included in the term “mobile phones”.
The term “driving” is also used to cover any time the driver’s behind the wheel and the engine’s running. This means that stopping at the traffic lights is still considered as “driving” even if the car’s completely stationary. The only time a driver is permitted to legally use their mobile phone is when the engine’s turned off and the vehicle is safely parked.
The Possible Penalties
Using a mobile phone whilst drivingis incredibly dangerous due the fact that the driver’s attention span drastically reduces whilst using an interactive device. This means that the driver’s concentration isn’t solely on the road and significantly increases the chances of an accident. Essentially, you’re getting off lightly if you escape with a penalty, as it’s much better than losing your life because of something as small as checking a Facebook status.
Penalties range from demerit points to a disqualification from driving depending on the circumstances and previous convictions. The fact is, driving whilst using a mobile phone isn’t taken lightly anymore due to the potential risks it poses. If you allow your concentration to lapse whilst using your mobile device you could potentially end up taking someone’s life or your own – which makes you think “is this text or call really worth the risk”?
If you need legal advice because you’ve been caught using a mobile phone whilst driving you should seek advice from a reputable motoring offence solicitor who can help to provide a solution. But remember, driving whilst using a mobile phone could not only cost you your licence, it could also cost you your life.
- 81 per cent of drivers ‘ignore phone laws’ (confused.com)
- Using your mobile phone to book your holiday (ebookers.com)