Lifestyle

Mobile phone driving law: Using a phone as a passenger could see motorists hit with fine

Phones can distract a road user from any upcoming hazards and can cause you to be a danger to other road users. Police officers can issue fines of £200 and up to six penalty points for even touching a device behind the wheel and the law even stands for passengers under certain conditions.

A GOV.UK statement said: “So, you get a text during a lesson. Maybe it’s a pupil asking to re-arrange a lesson, or your partner texting you about dinner.

“As soon as you pick up the phone you’re not only breaking the law, you’re putting yourself, your pupil, and other drivers at risk.”

RED Driving School CEO, Ian McIntosh told Express.co.uk: ‘At RED, we do not advocate any form of mobile phone use while driving. Our instructors teach nearly 100,000 new learner drivers each year and the rules around mobile phone usage are clear: all mobile phones including the instructors’ are switched off.

“An instructor supervising a learner driver who only holds a provisional licence is prohibited from using their mobile phone – this includes both voice calls and texting.

“The penalty is the same for anyone teaching someone to drive. They will receive six points on their licence, however the consequences for a qualified driving instructor are much more significant – six points on their licence would almost certainly result in immediate loss of their ADI badge and ultimately their livelihood.”

The penalty for using a mobile phone behind the wheel was doubled in 2017 in a safety crackdown.

The rules state motorists cannot even touch a mobile phone when they are behind the wheel of a running vehicle to avoid getting into trouble.

The only exception is to call 999 for matters that are a genuine emergency while you are unable to park.

Mobile phones can be used for navigation purposes as long as the device is connected to a hands free tool.

These allow a motorist to use basic functions such as the radio, follow navigation tools or make phone calls without needing to touch a device.

However, motorists must make sure the phone is not in a distracting position and police chiefs could still hit you with a charge if the phone is deemed to be blocking your vision.

Simple things such as using a phone when the vehicle is stationary at traffic lights or using to pay at a drive-thru restaurant are also enough to hit motorists with fines.

In extreme cases, the costs could rise to £1,000 and some road users may also be asked to attend a court hearing.

Concerned customers can complain about a driving instructor through the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

Customers also have a right to complain about there instructors for behaving inappropriately such as shouting or swearing.

Using aggressive language or unnecessary physical contact is also a breach of the regulations and could see an instructor taken off the ADI register.

Mobile phone use could also see an instructor removed from the ADI which could prevent them from working as an instructor again. 

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