Mobile phone offences

This is an offence created by The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) (No 4) Regulations 2003.

The offence of using a mobile phone involves the following:

Driving whilst using:using mobile phone

Regulation 110(1) and (2) prohibits a person from driving, or causing or permitting a person to drive, a motor vehicle on a road if the driver is using a hand- held mobile telephone or a hand-held device.

When can the mobile phone be treated as hand held

Regulation 110(6)(a) -  a mobile phone or device is to be treated as hand-held if it is, or must be, held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call, or performing any other interactive communication function.

What is classified as an “interactive communication function”

Sec 110(6) (C)  “interactive communication function” includes the following:

(i)   sending or receiving oral or written messages;

(ii)  sending or receiving facsimile documents;

(iii) sending or receiving still or moving images; and

(iv) providing access to the internet;

(Interactive communication device does not include a two way radio)

Stationary Vehicles:

Even when the vehicle is stationery if the engine is running a person may be regarded as driving the vehicle.   This means that an individual using a mobile whilst stopped at a traffic light can be prosecuted for a mobile phone offence.

Sec. 41D - Road Traffic Act:  Breach of requirements as to control of vehicle, mobile telephones etc.

Under Section 41(D) - A person who contravenes or fails to comply with a construction and use requirement—

(a)   as to not driving a motor vehicle in a position which does not give proper control or a full view of the road and traffic ahead, or not causing or permitting the driving of a motor vehicle by another person in such a position, or

(b)   as to not driving or supervising the driving of a motor vehicle while using a hand-held mobile telephone or other hand-held interactive communication device, or not causing or permitting the driving of a motor vehicle by another person using such a telephone or other device,

is guilty of an offence.

If the police are uncertain about the nature of the device, or if there is a dispute about how it was used, they may charge you for this alternative offence under Section 41(D)(a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (not having proper control of the vehicle). 

You can only use your mobile phone in a vehicle:

to call 999 or 112 in response to a genuine emergency where it is unsafe or impracticable to stop

  • if you are safely parked
  • if you are a passenger in a vehicle and not the driver

You must have hands-free access, such as:

  • a bluetooth headset
  •  voice command
  • a dashboard holder or mat
  • a windscreen mount
  • a built-in sat nav

If you are stopped by the police you may be offered 6 penalty points and £200.00 fine.  If you do not accept this you may be taken to court.  You will still get 6 points if convicted and a higher fine up to £1000.00.  If you were driving a lorry or a bus this may increase up to £2500.00.  You may also be subject to a ‘discretionary driving ban’.    

  Code                                Offence                                                                  Points 

CU80                     Breach of requirements as to control of the vehicle,
                             such as using a mobile phone.                                              3 to 6