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Question about mobile phone use while driving, The rules seem ambiguous...
TheManinBlack
post Mon, 28 May 2018 - 09:58
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I use my mobile phone as a sat nav whilst driving (I think a lot of people do).

I have it mounted in a cradle on the windscreen and it does not obstruct my view of the road.

A couple days ago, whilst driving, I touched the phone while it was cradled - and the police appear to have managed to take a photo of me doing this - and have sent me a 'notice of prosecution' letter through the door (together with the photo). The offence is for 'use of a mobile device while driving'.

From my reading of the law, I am actually allowed to touch the phone if it is cradled - is this correct?
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post Mon, 28 May 2018 - 09:58
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typefish
post Mon, 28 May 2018 - 10:11
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Yes, as long as it isn't causing you to become distracted.

Like, for example, trying to change the radio station in the car, or messing with the climate controls.

This photo they've sent you, does it clearly show the phone in the cradle?
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TheManinBlack
post Mon, 28 May 2018 - 10:25
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QUOTE (typefish @ Mon, 28 May 2018 - 11:11) *
Yes, as long as it isn't causing you to become distracted.

Like, for example, trying to change the radio station in the car, or messing with the climate controls.

This photo they've sent you, does it clearly show the phone in the cradle?


Thanka for your prompt reply.

Yes the photo clearly shows the phone cradled on a windscreen holder, and I am looking at it whilst touching the screen.

The AskthePolice website (https://www.askthe.police.uk/content/Q955.htm) clearly says that if the phone is cradled it is not an offence. Why have they notified me they intend to prosecute therefore? The offence on their NIP carries a 6 point penalty!

I have read that they may want to try and get me on a lesser charge namely ‘failure to have proper control of vehicle’ - which carries a 3 point penalty - but I am not sure if the photo is in itself sufficient proof of that charge?

TIA

This post has been edited by TheManinBlack: Mon, 28 May 2018 - 16:30
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Logician
post Mon, 28 May 2018 - 11:02
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I would thank them for the photograph clearly showing that you were not using a handheld device, and therefore not committing the offence they cite.
I doubt the lesser charge would stick, with a windscreen holder, you would not even be directing your eyes away from the windscreen and all sat-nav users would be equally guilty.


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The Rookie
post Mon, 28 May 2018 - 11:16
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QUOTE (TheManinBlack @ Mon, 28 May 2018 - 10:58) *
The offence is for 'use of a mobile device while driving'.

if that is exactly what it says, then there is no such offence.

What is an offence is using a handheld mobile while driving.

I suspect you passed a speed camera who have extracted the still from their video and the numpty operator doesn’t understand what is and is not legal.


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DancingDad
post Mon, 28 May 2018 - 12:04
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You say photo shows touching the phone.
Is this fingertip or gripping it?
The only reason (apart from muppetry) why they would think they could prosecute for holding the phone.
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PASTMYBEST
post Mon, 28 May 2018 - 12:24
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The picture would answer a lot of questions
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TheManinBlack
post Mon, 28 May 2018 - 15:09
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QUOTE (The Rookie @ Mon, 28 May 2018 - 12:16) *
QUOTE (TheManinBlack @ Mon, 28 May 2018 - 10:58) *
The offence is for 'use of a mobile device while driving'.

if that is exactly what it says, then there is no such offence.

What is an offence is using a handheld mobile while driving.

I suspect you passed a speed camera who have extracted the still from their video and the numpty operator doesn’t understand what is and is not legal.

Yes exactly - they took a pic cos I done for speeding - but then they asded a separate charge of ‘using a mobile device’, likely based in the still photo as you say.

To answer another question raised here - yes the photo shows I am only touching the device whilst it is cradled, not holding it.

As I say, their own website confirms no offence is conmitted so I think I have grounds to dispute this. Touching a mobile whilst cradled is akin to touching the radio player in your car whilst driving. There is no difference!

If they come back at me with the lesser charge of ‘failure to have proper control of vehicle’ - what would they have to prove? What they have to prove that I was weaving all over the place?
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flexeh
post Mon, 28 May 2018 - 15:27
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Just playing devil's advocate here,

but if someone has caught speeding and messing with phone albeit cradled and states its their satnav, couldnt it be construe as driving without due care and attention? as they could say that you messing has resulted in you speeding and not paying attention to the speedlimits and other road users. especially if you try argusing its a satnav

Careless driving or driving without due care and attention or careless driving:

Driving that falls below the standard expected of a competent driver; or
Driving that does not show reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or pathways.


Opinions?

This post has been edited by flexeh: Mon, 28 May 2018 - 15:28
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TheManinBlack
post Mon, 28 May 2018 - 15:45
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QUOTE (flexeh @ Mon, 28 May 2018 - 16:27) *
Just playing devil's advocate here,

but if someone has caught speeding and messing with phone albeit cradled and states its their satnav, couldnt it be construe as driving without due care and attention? as they could say that you messing has resulted in you speeding and not paying attention to the speedlimits and other road users. especially if you try argusing its a satnav

Careless driving or driving without due care and attention or careless driving:

Driving that falls below the standard expected of a competent driver; or
Driving that does not show reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or pathways.


Opinions?


Interesting argument - however isn’t this a case of double jeopardy? If you get charged for speeding, you surely can’t then get charged again because you ended up speedong? I would have thought they have to choose one or the other?
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TheManinBlack
post Mon, 28 May 2018 - 16:21
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Here are the photos.

It's not my finest piece of driving, I'll be honest, and I am quite embarrassed by the whole incident. I have a clean licence at the moment i.e. no points.

Just to be clear, I have received a notice of intention to prosecute for 3 separate charges, being as follows:

1. Speeding - 47mph in 30mph zone. Which I'll have to accept, I think. Looking at a 6 point penalty here I suspect, due to the extent of the excess speed.
2. Not wearing a seatbelt - no excuses, should have worn a seatbelt, I'll pay the fine. I was in a rush for an appointment but that's no excuse.
3. Using a mobile / handheld device - this is the one that I am disputing. The picture clearly shows the device is cradled and I am only touching it with my fingertips (i.e. not holding it). If they somehow are able to successfully charge me on this "count" as well, then that's another 6 point penalty...and I'm looking at immediate disqualification from driving - that's why it is so crucial that I get this right! I don't think this poor moment in my driving history should warrant disqualification, but on the face of it, that's apparently what I'm looking at, unless of course I am able to successfully dispute this 3rd charge.


Let me know what you guys think...and thanks again

This post has been edited by TheManinBlack: Mon, 28 May 2018 - 16:23
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Logician
post Mon, 28 May 2018 - 16:23
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QUOTE (flexeh @ Mon, 28 May 2018 - 16:27) *
Just playing devil's advocate here, but if someone has caught speeding and messing with phone albeit cradled and states its their satnav, couldnt it be construe as driving without due care and attention? as they could say that you messing has resulted in you speeding and not paying attention to the speedlimits and other road users. especially if you try argusing its a satnav Careless driving or driving without due care and attention or careless driving: Driving that falls below the standard expected of a competent driver; or Driving that does not show reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or pathways. Opinions?


No, the offence of driving at a speed dangerous to the public was contained in the RTA 1972 but was abolished wef 1.12.77 by s.50 Criminal Law Act 1977, and was never part of the lesser careless driving offence. Since then courts in England have been resistant to convict for dangerous driving based on speed alone, (otherwise in Scotland) and it would certainly not be logical then to include it as an element of careless driving.



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PASTMYBEST
post Mon, 28 May 2018 - 16:29
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Best advice tends to be, if you want to know the law don't ask the police. But this seems to me to be pretty accurate

https://www.askthe.police.uk/content/Q955.htm
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BaggieBoy
post Mon, 28 May 2018 - 16:49
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Looks like you have your hand wrapped around the phone, I suspect because the cradle is flimsy. So it's not a clear case of just pressing the screen whilst in the cradle.
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fergies_army
post Mon, 28 May 2018 - 19:58
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QUOTE (TheManinBlack @ Mon, 28 May 2018 - 09:58) *
it does not obstruct my view of the road.


Your picture suggests otherwise!
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The Rookie
post Mon, 28 May 2018 - 20:47
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Indeed not the best location, bottom right is a much better placing, that said not relevant to the offence alleged.


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NewJudge
post Mon, 28 May 2018 - 20:57
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QUOTE (flexeh @ Mon, 28 May 2018 - 16:27) *
Careless driving or driving without due care and attention or careless driving:

Driving that falls below the standard expected of a competent driver; or
Driving that does not show reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or pathways.


Opinions?

The latter (Driving that does not show reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or pathways) requires proof that somebody was actually inconvenienced by the inconsiderate driving.
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samthecat
post Mon, 28 May 2018 - 21:52
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I stand to be corrected but as there are multiple offences there will only be one lot of points, so 6 max?


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Logician
post Tue, 29 May 2018 - 00:57
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QUOTE (samthecat @ Mon, 28 May 2018 - 22:52) *
I stand to be corrected but as there are multiple offences there will only be one lot of points, so 6 max?


Correct, handheld mobile phone use would be 6 points and speeding 5 or 6 points, as the offences are on the same occasion 6 points should result. If the police are persuaded to drop the mobile phone offence, on the basis that their photo shows no offence being committed, there would only be one endorsable offence, so they could issue two fixed penalties, for speeding and no seat belt, which would be the best result.



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Jlc
post Tue, 29 May 2018 - 07:14
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47 in a 30 should qualify for a 3 points £100 fixed penalty. But it will be interesting what they offer.

This post has been edited by Jlc: Tue, 29 May 2018 - 07:14


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RK=Registered Keeper, OP=Original Poster (You!), CoFP=Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty, NtK=Notice to Keeper, NtD=Notice to Driver
PoFA=Protection of Freedoms Act, SAC=Safety Awareness Course, NIP=Notice of Intended Prosecution, ADR=Alternative Dispute Resolution
PPC=Private Parking Company, LBCCC=Letter Before County Court Claim, PII=Personally Identifiable Information

Private Parking - remember, they just want your money and will say almost anything to get it.
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