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What Amounts to a Mobile Hand-Held Device?

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What Amounts to a Mobile Hand-Held Device?

A mobile hand held device is ‘any device that performs an interactive communication function’ which must be held at some point. This is a very legalistic definition, and it may not really provide the answers you are looking for.

To clear matters up, we explain the rules regarding mobile hand held devices and driving.

Driving and mobile hand held devices

You probably know that you cannot pick up your phone while driving and make a phone call. Nor can you wedge your phone in between your ear and shoulder. You may have both hands on the steering wheel, yet it is still illegal. This is because you had to pick up the device at some point – perhaps to dial in the number or to accept the call.

Ultimately, that is what it comes down to – you cannot use a device that must be held, even if it is just for a few seconds.

Hands-free devices

Hands-free devices are permitted. This means you can make and receive calls via Bluetooth, voice command and your vehicle’s communication system. You can also use sat navs, including the sat nav on your phone, so long as you do not hold it. You phone might sit in a cradle, for instance.

You can push buttons on your phone or console, so long as you have full control of the vehicle and you do not hold the device.

Careless or dangerous driving

However, if you have an accident while using a hands-free device, you could still be charged with careless or dangerous driving. The police may argue that you failed to maintain a certain standard of driving because you were distracted. For example, you could have been fiddling with the sat nav or having a telephone conversation.

So, even if you are not breaking the law by using a mobile hand held device, you could still be found guilty of another offence. It will be up to the court to decide.

Using mobiles while stationary

If you are sat stationary in traffic, you cannot use a mobile hand held device, even if there is no prospect of you moving any time soon. Also, if you are parked but have your engine running, you will be breaking the rules. This is because you are technically deemed to be ‘driving’.

If you need to use your phone while driving, you must park safely and legally, and turn your engine off. You could even sit in the back-seat to make doubly certain.

Exceptions to the rule

The only time you can use a mobile hand held device while driving is when there is a genuine emergency. Ideally, you should stop and park safely first. If this is not possible, you are allowed to dial 999 or 112 while driving.

Motoring offence solicitors

If you have been caught using a mobile hand held device while driving, contact us and speak to our motoring offence solicitors. We can help you.

To find out more, contact us now for a free initial enquiry.