The use of any hand held mobile phone or similar handheld communication device while driving is prohibited and attracts 3 penalty points and a fine the level of which will depend on whether or not you were driving a vehicle intending to carry 8 or more passengers at the time of the offence.
The offence was created in response to the increasing numbers using their phones with often fatal consequences whilst driving. The government has published a great deal of information about the research into the use of mobile phones.
The offence of driving whilst using a mobile phone can be made out even when the quality of your driving is not affected. If the standard of your driving is affected whilst using a mobile phone, you could face prosecution for more serious charges of careless or dangerous driving. It is widely considered by many courts that where a mobile phone was in use illegally at the time of an accident, charges of dangerous driving, an extremely serious offence, are likely to be upheld.
A mobile phone can be used whilst driving in conjunction with a ‘hands free’ kit provided that the phone can be operated without holding it. Hands free kits that require you to take your hand off the wheel to operate it are not considered legal and you could be prosecuted even where you have been using a hands free device so be warned!
The law does not only apply to mobile phones, but also applies to any similar device that is hand held such as a “blackberry” device or navigation equipment and other computer equipment.
The only permissible defence to the above law arises if a person uses a hand held mobile phone to contact emergency services (999 or 112) in a genuine emergency and when it is impracticable to stop.
At all other times (even while sat in a traffic jam) an offence will be committed.
Check out Jeanette Miller aka Miss Justice talking on BBC Breakfast about the mobile phone offence and penalties in August 2012.