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Cell phones, penalty points and cancellation risks

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The Land Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2022 are now in effect and expand the ban on mobile phone use. Here, Neil Morley gives an overview…

On 25 March 2022 the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) Regulations (No. 2) came into force across England, Scotland and Wales.

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Amends the ban on the use of mobile phones (or interactive communication devices) while driving. Violation constitutes a crime punishable by fine and penalty points.

Previously, the offense was committed when, while driving, a driver carried a mobile phone (or an interactive communication device) and used it to communicate. This has now been modified and expanded to:

“…the offense of using a hand-held mobile phone or similar device is triggered when a driver carries and uses a mobile phone or similar device regardless of whether such use involves interactive communication…”

Thus, she…it is illegal to carry and use a phone, sat nav, tablet or any device that can connect to the internet or not to connect to the internet…while driving. However, exceptions are available in certain circumstances to allow emergency calls, remote-controlled parking functions, contactless payment, or when safely parked. In all other situations, hands-free devices may be used.

In the event of a mishap, the driver commits an offense; He may be discharged by either a fixed penalty notice or a trial in a magistrates’ court. If a fixed penalty notice is accepted, the driver will be fined £200 and receive 6 penalty points. If the matter goes to court, the driver risks being disqualified, fined up to £1,000 and receiving 6 penalty points.

Should the driver accept the fixed penalty notice or be found guilty in court, it is likely to result in the revocation of the Transport for London (TfL) sneaker or private driving licence. TfL clearly states that, in relation to these offenses and penalties, it will consider the following action:

xii Using a mobile phone or hand-held device. – Revocation

xii Any other individual offense resulting in six or more penalty points. – cancel

While the revocation is not automatic, TfL appears to follow the basic position of the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Institute for Licensing (IoL) on such matters. If TfL takes such enforcement action, the affected driver will have the right to appeal against the decision.

Going forward, it is vital that London road transport drivers and charter drivers are aware of this prohibition and, if they have not already done so, take reasonable steps to avoid committing an offence.

If you would like to check if you have been affected by any matters relating to the Taxi Licensing Act, please contact Travis Morley now on 01159 724928, email enquiry@travismorley.com or visit www.travismorley.com.

About the author: Neil Morley is a prominent taxi licensing law attorney who founded Travis Morley in 2010. He has advised on national law reforms, government briefs, and well-reported Supreme Court cases. His views have been widely sought after by commercial organisations, companies and individuals. He has been published in the Law Society Gazette, Journal of Licensing, and Professional Driver Magazine, and is a regular contributor to Private Hire News.