Friday, 3 March 2017

Mobile Phone In Vehicle Use....New Penalties Jason Clauson

Many of you may know that Iam a retired PC now GB. I was a Traffic Cop for 10 of my 30yrs. I have been heavily involved in dealing with many serious and fatal collisions and hundreds of prosecutions for these offences. I have read and heard a lot about the 'changes' in Mob Phone law so I thought I would try and clarify some things including some misleading info from Govt / police. Take it or leave it but its free advice and a bit of clarification.

Firstly ...the Law has not changed .. only the Penalties relating to phone use.
There are many offences relating to behaviour in a vehicle that are being discussed and not just the Mobile phone Law.

In so far as a phone goes .. the offence of Using a Hand Held Mobile phone relates to an unsecured Mobile phone that is used .. meaning Calling Texting Interacting with the phone whilst in the hand, on the lap, on shoulder up against ear.

So any interaction with phone not in a cradle can fall into this.

Not being in proper control of a motor vehicle covers everything else .. not just phones .. drinking, eating, driving one handed, reading a book, interacting with a phone in a cradle or a satnav. Literally anything .. the evidence must show that whilst doing the 'Thing' the vehicle was not controlled properly .. ie steering or braking impeded, wandering from lane to lane, not looking whilst moving, turning too wide or cutting a corner etc etc. ie anything that distracts you from driving safely and carefully.

Driving without a Proper View Ahead .. this relates to anything positioned in front of or blocking the view of the driver.

The area that this relates to has been described as the 45 degree view etc etc .. dont confuse yourself .. the drivers side wiper blade arc is a great guide to show the bare minimum .. I would have dealt with offences on the 2 thirds of the screen from the drivers side. Certainly NOT the area where the Tax disc and now the TFL CC sticker is some have commented on.

Now the subject of the engine on off .. the law re mobile phone use {handheld} tells you that to safely make a call the engine should be off and key out. This is right and stops the defence of sitting in traffic and using the phone . pull over stop safely and make the call. 

 Ineraction with a phone in a cradle. Well interaction with any control of the vehicle instrument radio dashboard etc if not done safely would fall under Driver Not in Proper Control. Same as a phone in a cradle. One single tap to accept a call or a job on an app and NO MORE if done in a safe manner will not fall foul of this offence .. more than that yes it will.

To accept a call in a vehicle it must be via a bluetooth headset , in car bluetooth or Bluetooth speaker all requiring one single press or tap to accept or cut off the call.

Note this does not include a wired headset .. these by definition are Personal Hands Free Kit and not for use either by defibition or design in a vehicle .. for that you need a Vehicle Hands Free Kit. 

Any use of a wired headset would most likely fall under Not in Proper Control .. but also if the phone is loose .. between your legs .. on the dash .. in the centre console etc would also be under Hand Held Phone Use.
In the wrong circumstances it could stretch to Dangerous Condition as it may interfere with ANY controls of the vehicle ...  inc indicators lights steering etc. You have to think of worst case scenario here as well as a Collision investigator will pick apart everything and present it to the Crown or Coroners Court.

Dangerous Condition could also relate to positioning of phones or satnavs.

Driving Without Due Care & Attention WDC .. this covers almost anything you do in a vehicle .. meaning driving that falls below the standards of a carefuland competent driver.

The bottom line is that these offences have been around a long while and the raising of the Phone Offence Penalties is a reflection on the epidemic use of phones and all the other offences that come along with them. The legislation may not have changed but the manner in which these offences are detected and dealt with has .. and court fines and punishments will go up as well to set examples.

So my advice is .. when you take a call .. if you have to do it with a bluetooth bit of kit and make it short and sweet.
Idfd you use an app .. accepting a job with a single tap if not done safely maay lead to one of the above offences so think carefully about how you do this .. and in any event .. pull over safely .. read the info you need and then get on with the job.

When taking a card payment .. again .. pull over somewhere safe .. not a corner or crossing nor over a side road etc .. and once there handbrake on & in park .. then do what you have to do.

This is not what the targetting is about .. sensible responsible behaviour is whats needed to stand us out away from the crowd .. allow the focus elsewhere.
My thoughts are based on strong experience of death and injury and destruction that you should feel lucky not to have seen.

Ask yourself this .. the person you care about most in the world is walking across a road ahead of me .. how do you want me to be driving?
Attentive ...Concentrating .. Alert .. OR
Distracted by a phone or satnav or app?

You know the answer .. so give that same respect to other peoples loved ones.
Thank you if you got this far

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