Research conducted by the RAC has shown the number of young drivers using their smart phones whilst driving has risen by 50% in the last year.
We often receive enquiries from people who have been stopped by the police for using a handheld device whilst driving even though they were not actually using their phone to make a call or send a text but were using the phone for some other purpose such as checking the time.
Whether you actually need to be actually making a call or sending a text or e-mail to be guilty of the offence has never been properly clarified by the legislation.
The case of the comedian Jimmy Carr at Harrow Magistrates’ Court from 2009 highlights the inconsistent approach taken by the Courts when it comes to this offence. Mr Carr was using his phone to dictate a joke whilst driving. The phone was clearly a handheld device and he was using it but he was still acquitted of the offence. In our experience, courts will often convict even where there is no evidence of what the device was actually being used for.
If you are accused of using a mobile phone to make or receive a call and are adamant that you did not do so, it is advisable to contact your mobile phone service provider straight away to ensure that all records of incoming and outgoing calls are retained in order that they can be used in Court if necessary. Outgoing calls will always be itemised on your phone bill, but incoming calls will not be. Most service providers only keep this information for 6 months and it could be some time before your case reaches Court.
Call us free on 0800 4334 678 at any time for advice in relation to any issue relating to motoring offences.