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Caught driving whilst using a mobile phone?

View profile for Olivia Peck
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New legislation comes into force on 25th March 2022 that prohibits the use, while driving a motor vehicle, of hand-held mobile telephones or other interactive communication devices, when performing an interactive communication function.

This widens the offence to remove the requirement that the driver is using a mobile phone and will now include other interactive devices for example mp3 players, or a tablet, performing interactive communication functions.

What is an interactive communication function?

A mobile phone or other device is treated as hand-held if it is held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call or performing any other interactive communication. Interactive communication function includes sending or receiving texts, emails, photos and videos, and accessing the internet.

However, simply holding a mobile phone or device whilst driving, could amount to an offence of careless driving.

What amounts to an ‘interactive communication function’ was also recently considered by the courts. In the case of Bendt v CPS [2022] EWHC 502 a conviction for using a mobile phone whilst driving was upheld where the defendant was using his phone to change music whilst connected via Bluetooth to his car stereo system. The court was satisfied that the defendant’s use of his mobile telephone in these circumstances amounted to an interactive communication function.

In an age where more and more people are now using their mobile phone as their means to pay, for example by way of Apple Pay, the update in legislation permits the use of a mobile phone or other device to pay at drive through food and drink locations.

How can we help?

If you find yourself being prosecuted for use of a mobile phone whilst driving or any other motoring offences, it is vital to contact a solicitor as soon as possible to obtain expert legal advice.

Johnson Astills are experts in criminal law and motoring offences, and are able to assist 24 hours of the day at the police station. Our specialist advocates in the Criminal Defence Team are highly experienced in dealing with matters at both the Magistrates’ and Crown Court. Representation at the police station is free, and legal aid may be available for your case at the Magistrates’ and Crown Court. For offences which do not qualify for legal aid, we offer fixed fees for appointments and representation.

To discuss any offences please contact our Criminal Defence Team at Johnson Astills at our Leicester office on 0116 2554855 or our Loughborough office on 01509 610312.