Dear Carole… Mobile Device use & driving…

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Dear Carole

We are all under huge pressure to check our fleet management software at certain points of the day. I’ve found that keeping the iPad in the cab with me and checking it while I’m at a red light or stuck in slow moving traffic is the only solution. I’m guessing this probably isn’t legal though…

Ian, Leicester

Hi Ian, you’re right, it’s not!

It’s illegal to use a handheld mobile device when driving. This includes using your iPad to check things online – or using a mobile phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media. This applies even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.

A hand-held device is something that is or must be held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call or performing any other interactive communication function.

A device is “similar” to a mobile phone if it performs an interactive communication function by transmitting and receiving data.  Examples of interactive communication functions are sending and receiving spoken or written messages, sending or receiving still or moving images and providing access to the internet.

Studies show that drivers using a hands-free or handheld mobile phone are slower at recognising and reacting to hazards. Even careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text; and a split-second lapse in concentration could result in a crash.

Using a mobile phone, sat nav or any similar device whilst driving means that the driver’s attention is distracted from the road.

If the use of your mobile phone results in the standard of your driving to fall below the required standard you may be charged with careless or even dangerous driving. Drivers also risk prosecution for failure to have proper control if they use hands-free phones when driving.

You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.

Pushing buttons on a mobile while it is in a cradle, for example, is not an offence so long as you do not hold the phone. Texting whilst driving therefore is an offence if the phone (or other device) has to be held in order to operate it.

You can use hands-free phones, sat navs and 2-way radios while driving. However, if the police think you’re distracted and not in control of your vehicle you could still get stopped and prosecuted. The penalties are same as being caught using a handheld phone.

Should the use of a mobile device lead to a prosecution for careless or dangerous driving then the penalties and consequences are far higher. The penalties for driving carelessly or dangerously when using a handheld or hands-free phone can include disqualification, a large fine and up to two years imprisonment.

You can get an automatic fixed penalty notice if you’re caught using a hand-held phone while driving or riding. You’ll get 3 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £100.

Your case could also go to court and you could be disqualified from driving and get a maximum fine of £2,500.

FACTBOX

You can:

Push buttons on a phone while it’s in a cradle

Use hands-free phones, sat-navs and 2 way radios

Use a handheld phone if you’re safely parked

Use a handheld phone while driving in an emergency to call 999 or 112

You cannot:

Use any handheld device while driving, while stopped at traffic lights or while stopped in traffic

Be distracted or drive in an unsafe manner due to any mobile device, handheld or otherwise

The consequences:

* An automatic fixed penalty notice if you’re caught using a hand-held device while driving or riding. You’ll get 3 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £100.

* Your case could also go to court and you could be disqualified from driving and get a maximum fine of £2,500.

 

First appeared in FACTS Magazine.



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