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MOBILE PHONE MIS-USE ON THE INCREASE?

 

Press cover today (Dec 11) suggests mobile phone usage whilst driving has not decreased but in fact increased since the introduction of endorsement of three penalty points (or disqualification) on driving licences a couple of years ago.

 

The dangers for drivers (whether driving privately or commercially) is to think that the worst case scenario is a £60 fixed penalty and three penalty points. It is clearly not. As we have pointed out in previous articles, mobile phone mis-use is not merely an offence in its own right but such phone usage can be regarded as part and parcel of other offences such as careless driving or dangerous driving - indeed Crown Prosecution Service guidance is that the use of a mobile phone in the context of an accident should give rise to consideration of not merely a careless driving offence but dangerous driving as a starting point (mandatory 12 month driving disqualification and double normal duration re-test).

 

The published sentencing guidelines for fatal accidents are very specific: if any dangerous or careless driving takes place and a fatality occurs then a custodial sentence must normally be imposed. Mobile phone use will aggravate any such case. In cases of the relatively new offence of death by careless driving custody will normally only be avoided where there is a total absence of any aggravating features (including phone mis-use) and the carelessness amounts only to a momentary lapse.

 

Court proceedings for dangerous or careless in the context of mobile phone mis-use will not be confined to fatal accidents, however. No driver of any vehicle should simply assume that being caught using a mobile phone will only result in a fixed penalty notice and three points - they may in fact face an allegation of careless driving ( 3 to 9 points or disqulaification) or worse. It is perhaps this lack of insight which perpetuates mis-use.

 

And what of professional drivers - mobile phone mis-use is a road heading towards a driver conduct hearing before a Traffic Commissioner and the commercial press often reports on drivers whose vocational licences have been suspended for short periods for such offences.

 

Tim Ridyard, Solicitor

 

Link to this page can be found at: http://www.roadtransport.com/blogs/transport-law-blog/2009/12/mobile-phone-mis-use-on-the-in.html

Road Transport Law Blog

The information on these pages are taken from www.roadtransport.com

Manufactured the highest specification and complying to all EU Directives, TrukWash cleaning products are designed to remove the most stubborn traffic film and grease from Paintwork, Chassis, Engine and Plant & Machinery and is used by the Car Valeting, Commercial Road, Rail, Sea and Air Transport sectors. We also supply a comprehensive range of Pressure Washers and Cleaning Equipment

 

 

 

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