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Mobile phones and driving – What is the Law?

USING A HAND HELD MOBILE PHONE WHILST DRIVING A VEHICLE IS A CRIMINAL OFFENCE UNDER THE ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1988 - PART II

SHOCKING STATISTICS FOR 2011* 

  • 26 DEATHS AS A DIRECT RESULT OF USING A MOBILE PHONE WHILE DRIVING A VEHICLE
  • 350 ACCIDENTS CAUSED AS A DIRECT RESULT OF USING A MOBILE PHONE WHILE DRIVING 

IF YOU ARE CONVICTED OF USING A MOBILE PHONE WHILST DRIVING A VEHICLE, YOU MUST INFORM YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY BY LAW. THIS MAY RESULT IN AN INCREASED INSURANCE PREMIUM OF AT LEAST 30% IN ADDITION TO A £60 FINE AND 3 PENALTY POINTS
*Source - Automobile Association (AA)



Hand held mobile phone laws and driving offences involving use of a mobile phone
Since 1st December 2003 it has been a specific offence to use a hand held mobile phone while driving. From February 2007, drivers caught using a mobile phone while driving have received a £60 fine PLUS three penalty points on their licence. In December 2007, new guidance was issued stating that those involved in more serious accidents would also be charged with dangerous driving and face a prison sentence of up to two years.

Prosecution and court
If an individual refuses to accept the fixed penalty, or the officer who stopped the driver feels that the offence committed was so severe that a fixed penalty is simply inadequate, then the case may end up in court. If this happens fines will almost certainly be larger and disqualification is also possible. The maximum fine in a court is £1000. If the driver is driving a bus or a goods vehicle the maximum fine is £2500.

Serious offences using a hand held mobile phones when driving
The above offences apply if the driver is seen using a phone. If there is an accident, or careless driving has been witnessed while the phone is being used, drivers can also be prosecuted for careless driving or dangerous driving. In the worst case scenario, if someone is killed, they may also be prosecuted for causing death by careless or dangerous driving. If a death is caused, fines can be much greater, and a prison sentence becomes almost certain.

Hands free mobile phones
Hands free mobile mobiles are excluded from the above, however if a driver is seen not to be in control of a vehicle while using a hands free phone they can still be prosecuted for the offence just as if they were using a hand held phone.

Employers (or other callers)
Employers may be open to prosecution if:
• they cause or allow an employee to drive while using a phone or to not have proper control of the vehicle
• they require an employee to use a phone whilst driving
• an employer may be liable if an employee drives dangerously because they are using a phone installed by the employer

Cyclists using mobile phones
It is not an offence to cycle and use a hand held mobile phone, however it is still possible to be prosecuted for careless or dangerous cycling.

Exclusions
Calls may be made to 999 or 112 (the Eurpean Union universal emergency number) in a genuine emergency where stopping is unsafe or impractical.
Other devices that send or receive data, such as hand held internet devices are not exempt, however one exception is a two way radio (devices used by Police and other law enforcement organisations).

Mobile phone use - Guidelines
IT IS ILLEGAL
to use a hand held mobile phone while driving OR while stopped with the engine switched on (this also applies to a hand held mobile phones on loud speaker - having the phone on loud speaker does not make you exempt from the law and any penalties you acquire). This applies to any use of the phone, for example making/receiveing calls, using the internet, using smartphone apps and texting at the wheel.
If you have a hands-free phone, stop to make or take a call. If this is not practical leave it to voicemail. If you really must talk keep conversations short and tell the caller you will find a safe and legal place to stop and phone back. By using a hands free mobile phone while driving, although you are not breaking the law, you are putting yourself at an increased risk of committing other offences caused through lack of concentration.

Employers should issue specific company advice on mobile phone use as part of their internal contractual policies and procedures.

Find a solicitor specialising in Motoring Offences in the Solicitors Directory




MINISTRY OF JUSTICE

The Ministry of Justice states its work is to protect the public and reduce reoffending, and to provide a more effective, transparent and responsive criminal justice system for victims and the public.

The Minitry of Justice also supports the Lord Chancellor, with the independent advice of the Judicial Office, on the appointment of magistrates and on some magistrate related policy areas.

The Ministry Of Justice is responsible for the following ares of the justice system:

  • courts
  • prisons
  • probation services
  • attendance centres


The Ministry Of Justice also works in partnership with the other government departments and agencies to reform the criminal justice system and serve the public and support the victims of crime. The Ministry Of Justice is also responsible for making new laws, strengthening democracy, and safeguarding human rights.

The stated priorities of the Ministry of Justice are to:

  • reduce reoffending by using the skills of the public, private and voluntary sectors
  • reduce youth crime by putting education at the centre of youth justice
  • build a prison system that delivers maximum value for money
  • reduce the cost of legal aid and ensure it helps those cases that genuinely need it
  • improve the way our courts are run and put the needs of victims first

MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE

A Mitigating Circumstance is where a circumstance does not excuse a person but may lessen the penalty (most commonly used in Motoring Offences where the "totting up" process is used).

MILITARY LAW

Military law, also referred to as military justice, is a distinct legal system to which members of armed forces are subject. Military law deals with issues such as; procedures for military discipline, what is or what is not a lawful command, and obligations for service personnel.
The Armed Forces Act 2006 encompasses Military Law and discipline across all three UK services (Army, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy) so that all personnel are subject to the same system wherever in the world they are serving. All members are the Armed Forces are also subject to the criminal law of England wherever they are serving, and have a duty to uphold it. In that respect they are no different from other citizens, and all civil offences have been fully incorporated within The Armed Forces Act 2006. When deployed on operations sevice personnel are aslo subject to international law including the laws of armed conflict and rules of engagement.

MARINE LAW (MARITIME LAW)

Marine Law, also known as Maritime Law, is the branch of law that deals with territorial and international waters, with shipping or with ocean fishery regulations.

MINOR

Depending on the jurisdiction and application, the age of a Minor may vary, but is usually marked at either 12, 16, 18, 20, or 21. Currently in the UK this is someone below 18 years of age and unable to sue or be sued without representation, other than for wages. A minor sues by a next friend and defends by a guardian. A minor is also refered to as an 'infant'. See also Young Offender.


MASTER

Judicial officer of the High Court in the Royal Courts of Justice who normally deals with preliminary matters before trial

MACER (SCOTLAND)

In Scotland, a Macer is an official who acts as an usher in Court, They call the accused and witnesses into the Court room and help maintain order.

MACER (SCOTLAND)

In Scotland, a Macer is an official who acts as an usher in Court, They call the accused and witnesses into the Court room and help maintain order.

MODE OF TRIAL

Mode of Trial is the type of trial, for example trial by Magistrate, trial by Judge, or trial by Judge & Jury.

MELILLA

Melilla is a Spanish Territory situated in Northern Morocco on the Mediterranean Coast. The capital of Melilla is Melilla. It has a population of around 68,000 whose main language is Spanish and Arabic. The main religions are Roman Catholic and Muslim and the currency is the Euro.

Melilla Information - tourist information, culture, institutions.

MAYOTTE

Mayotte is a French Departmental Collectivity situated in the Indian Ocean between Mozambique and Madagascar. The capital of Mayotte is Dzaoudzi. It has a popluation of around 186,000 whose main languages are French and Mahorian. The main religions are Sunni Muslim and Christan and the currency is the Euro.

Tourist Guide for The Island of Mayotte

Mayotte Customs Regulations

MADEIRA

Madeira is an Autonomous Region of Portugal and is situated in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Morocco above the Canary Islands. The Capital of Madeira is Funchal. It has a population of around 246,000 whose main language is Portuguese. The main religions are Roman Catholic and Protestant and the currency is the Euro.

Madeira Island Government

Madeira Official Tourist Site

Madeira Customs Regulations (as Portugal)

 

MUNIMENT

A muniment is a deed, or a legal document that proves ownership, or a right to something.

MOTIVE

A motive is the reason for a person doing something.

MORATORIUM

A Moratorium is a delay of action, so for example it may be arranged not to take action to recover a debt for an agreed length of time.

MOLEST/MOLESTATION

Molestation is the act of subjecting someone to harrassing and improper behaviour, maybe of a sexual nature. Molestation has always been associated with women and children, however far more men are also now the subject of molestation.

MISTRIAL

A mistrial is a trial that has been made invalid, or is inconclusive.

MISFEASANCE

Misfeasance is where somebody does something that is lawful, but does it in an injurious manner, or in Company Law, misfeasance is breach of duty in relation to the funds or property of a company by its directors or managers.

MISDIRECTION

In law, a misdirection is when the judge gives incorrect instructions to a jury. 

MISCONDUCT

Misconduct is a legal terms which means doing something wrong, aware that such action is unlawful.

MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE

Miscarriage of Justice is the punishment and conviction of a person who actually did not commit the crime; the court system failing to to give justice.

MISADVENTURE

In law, a misadventure is a mishap, or an unexpected accidident which occured whilst doing something lawfully.

MINUTES

Minutes are a record of what was transpired in a meeting.

MINORITY

In general, minority relates to the smaller of two parts in a group, for example a minority vote. In law minority also refers to an age prior to the legal age.

MESSUAGE

In law a messuage is a dwelling, or a house along with any land or out buidlings.

MERCHANTABLE QUALITY

Merchantable Quality is term in law which suggests that goods sold by a business are fit for their purpose.

MERCANTILE LAW

Mercantile Law is the branch of law which relates to commercial transactions.

MERCANTILE LAW

Mercantile Law is the branch of law which relates to commercial transactions.

MEDIATION

Civil, commercial and family mediation is a way of solving problems without going to court in which an impartial third party, the mediator, helps find a mutually acceptable resolution. If mediation fails, court proceedings can be initiated.

MATRIMONIAL HOME

The matrimonial home is the house that a husband and wife live in as a married couple.

MATRIMONIAL CAUSES

Matrimonial causes are the court proceedings to divorce a married couple; dissolve a marriage.

MATRICIDE

Matricide is the killing of a mother my her son or daughter.

MATERIAL FACTS

Material Facts are facts which are a key part of a defence or a claim.

MASTER OF THE ROLES

The Master of the Rolls is a Judge of the Supreme Court, next in dignity to the Lord Chancellor, having the official custody of the Royal records.

MASTER OF THE ROLLS

The Keeper, or Master of the Rolls and Records of the Chancery of England (known as the Master of the Rolls) is the second most senior judge in England and Wales, after the Lord Chief Justice. The Master of the Rolls is the presiding officer of the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal.

MARTIAL LAW

Martial law is the system of rules that takes effect when the military takes control of the normal administration of justice.

MARTIAL LAW

Martial law is the system of rules that takes effect when the military takes control of the normal administration of justice.

MARKET OVERT

Market Overt comes from the french term 'Marché Ouvert', which translates to 'open market'. It is a lawful 'market' which relates to the handling of stolen goods. If someone buying the goods is not aware that they do not actually belong to the seller, then the buyer will get title to the goods.

MANDATE

A mandate is an official document giving an official instruction or command.

MALICIOUS PROSECUTION

Malicious Prosecution is a prosecution of another without feasible grounds to suppose that such action will be successful.

MALICIOUS FALSEHOOD

Malicious falsehood is a written or spoken lie told with malice, and was told with the knowledge of doing so.

MALICE AFORETHOUGHT

Malice Aforethought is planning to kill someone, or intending to do something which is likely to kill, and is the element of mens rea, which must accompany the actus reus of death.

MALICE

Malice is a legal term describing someones intention to cause injury or harm to another.

MALFEASANCE

Malfeasance is an unlawful act, especially by a public official.

MONARCH

The Monarch is the sovereign head of state (The Queen), and the Monarch also gives royal assent to Bills of Parliament.

MAGISTRATE

There are two types of Magistrate: 

• Lay, or Justice of the Peace - has no legal qualifications and is unpaid. Usually three sit together,one of whom is chairperson. Magistrates are members of the public who rely on a Court Clerk, or Justice Clerk to advise on points of law.

• District Judge - legally qualified and paid. Usually sits alone and is addressed 'Sir' or 'Madam'.

MEMORANDUM AND ARTICLES OF ASSOCIATION

The memorandum gives details of the company's name, objectices, and share capital. It also sets out the limites of the shareholders liability if the company has to be wound up. The articles set out the members' rights and the directors' powers.

MONEY CLAIM

A Money Claim is a claim for money only in the County Court.

MALADMINISTRATION

Maladministration is administration that leads to injustice because of such factors as excessive delay, bias or random decision making.

MISREPRESENTATION

Misrepresentation is a concept of contract law. It means a false statement of fact by one party to another, to encourage the other party to enter into a contract. For example, you may be sold goods described as 'new', when in actual fact they turn out to be re-conditioned.

MANSLAUGHTER

Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another person, but without malice.

MURDER

Murder is the unlawful killing of another human being.

MONEY LAUNDERING

Money Laundering is any procedure to change the identity of illegal or 'dirty' money by a cycle of transactions. To disguise the origin of the funds in such a manner, so they appear in the system as a legitimate income derived from an apparently legitimate source.

MAJORITY VERDICT

A majority verdict is when all the jurors cannot agree and the judge decides that they will accept the decision if at least 10 of the jurors agree. A majority decision can only occur when the judge considers that enough time has elapsed. This will depend on the case, but could be a very long time (if the jury has been reduced, the judge can accept a majority of 9 out of 10 jurors).

MATERNITY RIGHTS

This is a vast subject and there is a lot of legislation surrounding it. To seek further advice on maternity rights employees and self employed individuals can visit Direct.gov. Employers can get additional information from Business Link.

If in doubt, it is strongly advisable to seek legal advice from a solicitor. Solicitors who specialise in Employment Law will in most cases be able to offer legal advice on your maternity rights.

MATRIMONIAL RIGHTS

Matrimonial problems will often be dealt with by a solicitor who specialises in Family Law. Further advice on this subject can be obtained from Advicenow.

 

MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT

This includes a range of matters from sport, television, film and newspapers. Media law includes contractual disputes and issues regarding defamation (libel and slander) breach of confidence and privacy and contempt of court. In addition, sports law includes defence of sportsmen before disciplinary bodies.

MEDIATION

Civil, commercial and family mediation is a way of solving problems without going to court in which an impartial third party, the mediator, helps find a mutually acceptable resolution. If mediation fails, court proceedings can be initiated.

MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE

Medical negligence is a medical professional’s failure to exercise reasonable medical judgment. Medical Negligence is now referred to as Clinical Negligence.

MENTAL HEALTH AND INCAPACITY LAW

Mental health and incapacity law concerns the operation of law as it affects those who suffer mental illness or lack capacity due to disability. It includes the law relating to older people. The law is applied through Mental Health Tribunals, Public Guardianship Office and the Court of Protection.

MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS

A merger is a combination of two companies to form a new company, while an acquisition is the purchase of one company by another.

A merger occurs when one firm assumes all the assets and all the liabilities of another. The acquiring firm retains its identity, while the acquired firm ceases to exist.

MILITARY LAW

Military law, also referred to as military justice, is a distinct legal system to which members of armed forces are subject. Military law deals with issues such as; procedures for military discipline, what is or what is not a lawful command, and obligations for service personnel.
The Armed Forces Act 2006 encompasses Military Law and discipline across all three UK services (Army, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy) so that all personnel are subject to the same system wherever in the world they are serving. All members are the Armed Forces are also subject to the criminal law of England wherever they are serving, and have a duty to uphold it. In that respect they are no different from other citizens, and all civil offences have been fully incorporated within The Armed Forces Act 2006. When deployed on operations sevice personnel are aslo subject to international law including the laws of armed conflict and rules of engagement.

MOTORING LAW

A number of road related offences come under this category, including driver licencing, buying & selling a vehicle, learner & new drivers, owning a vehicle, speeding & drink driving.

In more detail, some of the more serious motoring offences are:

Dangerous Driving: A person who drives a vehicle dangerously

Causing death by dangerous driving: Formerley referred to as reckless driving and causing death by reckless driving.

Careless or inconsiderate driving: Driving a vehicle without due care and attention.

Driving while unfit: Driving a vehicle while unfit - for example, unfit after taking drugs, or whilst suffering from a medical condition which prevents you from being able to drive.

Driving with excess alcohol: Where the proportion of alcohol in the drivers body exceeds the legal limit.

MAGISTRATE

There are two types of Magistrate: 

Lay, or Justice of the Peace - has no legal qualifications and is unpaid. Usually three sit together,one of whom is chairperson. Magistrates are members of the public who rely on a Court Clerk, or Justice Clerk to advise on points of law.

District Judge - legally qualified and paid. Usually sits alone and is addressed 'Sir' or 'Madam'.

MAGISTRATES COURT

Magistrates Court is the lowest tier of criminal court in England & Wales dealing with a vast proportion of all criminal cases. Local and central government fund the court jointly and almost all cases are tried by Magistrates, also known as justices of the peace (JP's), although District Judges, a legally qualified JP, try some cases.

Some examples of civil matters commonly dealt with in the Magistrates Court are Family matters, Liquor licencing and betting and gaming.

95% of criminal cases are completed in the Magistrates Court.

MAINTENANCE PENDING SUIT

A temporary order for financial provision made within divorce proceedings until such time as the proceedings are finalised (i.e. by issue of the Decree Absolute)

MASTER

Judicial officer of the High Court in the Royal Courts of Justice who normally deals with preliminary matters before trial

MATTER

Proceedings commenced by way of originating application

MESNE PROFITS

Sum of money claimed by the owner of property against someone not legally entitled to be in possession. Calculated from the date the notice to quit expires until the date possession is given up

MITIGATION

Mitigation is where facts and reasons are put to a judge on behalf of a guilty party in order to excuse, or partly excuse the offence committed in an attempt to minimise the sentence.

MORTGAGE

A loan of money advanced to purchase property. The transfer of the property is withheld as security for payment

MORTGAGEE

The party that advances the loan

MORTGAGOR

The party obtaining the loan

MOTION

An application by one party to the High Court for an order in their favour