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Mobile Phone Use Legal Update March 2017

Everyone will know that it is illegal to use your mobile phone whilst driving.  This has been the case for a number of years and lots of cars now have built in hands-free technology or phones have the ability to be used hands-free in order to comply with the laws set out pre-1 March 2017.

The new tougher laws which will be imposed as of 1 March 2017 will mean that anybody caught using a mobile device will now mean that if caught you will receive 6 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200.00 (this is double that of any sanction imposed for those caught doing the sane act before 1 March 2017).

Drivers who have recently passed their test, if caught even once, will receive a ban and drivers who hold a licence for more than 2 years and are repeat offenders, risk facing a fine of £1,000 and a 6 month driving ban.

This greatly impacts upon employers and in particular those with employees utilising company cars or pool cars or indeed company vehicles such as HGV’s.  I would point out that if a HGV driver is found to be using a phone they could face up to £2,500 fine and a disqualification.

The whole purpose of this renewed tougher regime is to reduce and ultimately eliminate the road traffic accidents and ultimately deaths that occur on the UK roads as a result of drivers using their mobile phones or devices whilst driving.

A recent camping trip to Devon had a horribly end for a family when driving back and stopped in traffic.  The driver of a HGV vehicle was using his mobile phone to change music he was listening to, the traffic in front had come to a halt and he simply drove his lorry into the back of the vehicles crushing the cars in front and one of the cars in front contained a mother, two of her children and two of her friend’s children, all of whom were killed instantaneously.  That driver pleaded guilty and received a 10 year prison sentence.

It is as a result of incidents like this that this tougher law has come into place and employers will be well advised to ensure that their employees for whom actions they will be responsible insure that they have a clear and firm policy on the use of mobile devices when driving.

Given the laws in place it may be even be suitable for the use of mobile phones whilst driving to amount to gross misconduct and therefore result in summary dismissal.

The rules have been brought in and are in force at the time of writing.  If any employers or employees wish to find out more information about this please contact Alistair Haggerty on 01530 835041 or by e-mail, ahaggerty@josiahhincks.co.uk.

Let us all try and be safe on the roads in that we do not have to receive a call from the police letting us know that a loved one has been killed by somebody not ignoring a mobile phone