it

Using a mobile phone while driving - what is and isn't legal?

Q:- What does the law deem to be illegal use of a handheld mobile phone? A:- The law is

quite descriptive about what's acceptable and what isn't

so if you have a handheld mobile phone as in you're holding in your hand and

using it while you're driving and that is an offence and you will be prosecuted

now if you're stopped in a traffic jam or you stopped at a red light some

people think that's an opportunity to catch up on messages or make calls the

law actually is quite descriptive around that activity as well and that is

included in the offense so stopping at a red light and and using your phone still

means that you commit the offense the only safe way to to make a call when

you're behind the wheel is to stop in a safe place

turn your engine off engage your handbrake and make your call. Legislation

also goes further and it talks about mobile communication devices and devices

that are capable of sending and receiving data so for example in your

car you had your ipad attached to the air vents in your in your car and a car

cradle and you're interacting with that device you are accessing it sending

information or messages while driving and that is also an offense and again

you're also liable to be prosecuted if you drive in that way so the safest

advice I can give people and it's not the law but it's the safest advice I can

give people it's the advice I give to my seventeen-year-old son when he starts

driving in the next few weeks is when you get into the car turn off your

mobile phone lock it in the glove box lock it in the boot or turn on airplane

mode and that way you can absolutely guarantee you're not going to be

distracted and all of your attention will be on driving keeping you safe

keeping other road users safe. Q:- In terms of having your phone in a cradle as

lots of motorists no doubt do, that presumably is allowed under the letter

of the law but surely it can also be quite a distraction?

A:- Yeah absolutely be the law doesn't prohibit the use of a mobile phone in

cradle so mobile phone in cradle or hands-free car device or bluetooth

device are permitted by law

what your viewers will need to be careful of is that if they are driving a

car and they are not in proper control or they distracted by the device which

could happen if the phone is in a cradle

or fit if they're using the hands-free device or indeed if

they're eating behind the wheel or changing a CD for example then they

committ a different offensive not been in proper control of that vehicle and

that's still just a serious and consequences of driving while not in

proper controller while distracted can be equally devastating for them, their

family or for other people's families who are using the road as well.

Q:- Your time as a traffic police officer

what kind of things have you seen and what prosecution's have you dealt with

regarding mobile phone use? A:- As people viewing this will know that

there's definitely a propensity for people to want to use a mobile phone

when they're driving and and we see people using their phones when the

driving while right on patrol, anybody seen by police officer using their

mobile phone while driving is going to be stopped and will be prosecuted

there's no doubt about that, some of the examples where I've seen people driving

using their phones

I driver an X5 marked police vehicle and you can imagine it's very visible

well actually people have not seen this vehicle as i pull up next to them while

they're still on their phone so that shows you the level of distraction that

that people suffer while they are using the phone while driving and ofcourse those

people are prosecuted end up with points and a license and having to pay a fine

so it's a really serious business we're talking about and if you take it to his

extreme and you're involved in a serious collision where somebody's is hurt or in

the worst case scenario somebody loses their life you can expect that your

phone will be looked at by the police the data on your phone will be

downloaded and we will check to see if it was being used at the time, whether to

make a call to send a text message or to gain access to the internet and if that

is the case then you can expect to receive a custodial sentence if you are

found to be at fault.