On the 25th March, the law relating to the use of a mobile phone while driving changed.
The previous law states under Regulation 110 of Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 that using a hand-held device for ‘interactive communication’, predominantly phone calls and messaging or accessing the internet, is punishable by a minimum £200 fine and 6 penalty points.
This has now been changed as mobile phones are capable of much more than interactive communication through advances in technology. This in an effort to close the loophole that had been taken advantage of in the DPP Vs Barreto case in 2019. Within this case a driver who was filming a nearby accident was found not guilty as he was not using his hand-held device for ‘interactive communication’. The judge on the case explained that they were out of scope of this offence.
On 1 February 2022, the Government laid a Statutory Instrument (SI), under the ‘made negative’ procedure, titled ‘The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2022. The new law means that the offence is triggered whenever a driver holds and uses a device, regardless of why they are holding it.
There are limited exemptions to the new law. The existing exemption which allows a driver to use a phone in emergencies under The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) (No.4) Regulations 2003 remains in place. There will be an added exemption introduced with the new law allowing a driver to hold and use a device to make a contactless payment at a payment terminal for goods and services, while the vehicle is stationary.
It will also continue to be legal for a mobile phone to be used for navigation purposes (sat nav) while driving provided the device is kept in a cradle and not the driver’s hand.
If you have been convicted of using a hand-held device while driving and you feel as though your reasoning resonates within the confines of the law or you have been wrongfully convicted, you should always seek the help of an expert to help your case. Contact Farleys’ motoring offence specialists on 0845 287 0939, by email , or through the online chat below.