Using handheld device whilst driving
In England and Wales for the offence to be committed the device has to used whilst driving a vehicle, has to be handheld and also be adapted for the purposes of interactive communication.
The law in relation to this offence was first drafted in the 1980s before the more recent advances in technology and is therefore open to interpretation. A question that regularly crops up is “am I guilty of the offence if I am using the phone but not to make a call or send a text?” The answer to that question is not certain.
In a case where a driver picks up his phone in order to access information or use an application but is not actually using the phone to make a call even though the phone has been adapted for that purpose. In our experience there has been a lack of consistency throughout the Courts in relation to how this area of law is applied.
It is important that, if you intend to dispute an allegation of this nature, that you immediately contact your service provider for records of all incoming and outgoing calls and text messages that can be produced at Court if necessary. This information will not always appear on a normal phone bill.
On conviction the offence will almost always carry 3 points and a £60 fine. However, it should also be remembered that a person who commits this offence may also be prosecuted for careless and dangerous driving if an accident has occurred or the standard of their driving was affected as a result of the use of the handheld device.