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Endorsable/Non Endorsable Fixed Penalty Notices


Answer

Fixed penalty tickets/notices (FPT /FPN) may be issued for road traffic offences, and offer an opportunity to settle an offence without the need to go through the court system. If you pay a fixed penalty ticket, all liability for the offence is discharged and the offence doesn't form part of your criminal record.

As fixed penalty notices do not fall under the definition of a 'relevant matter', they would not be automatically released on a DBS check and as such are not subject to the filtering provisions.

A recipient of a fixed penalty notice has two options, either to pay the ticket and surrender their licence where required, or request a court hearing.

There are two types of fixed penalty tickets, endorsable and non-endorsable.

  • Endorsable tickets mean that you'll get points on your licence (usually 3) and have to pay a penalty (usually £100) - note that whilst this is the penalty for the majority of tickets, there are some variations where it is more or less, not having insurance is one example.
  • A non-endorsable ticket means that you will receive a £50 fine (some are higher) but don't get any points on your licence.
  • Certain parking offences are eligible for a £30 non-endorsable ticket (£40 in Greater London).

The type of FPN you receive depends on the offence you have committed. Some offences cannot be dealt with by way of a FPN or the police officer may think that the circumstances are too serious, in either case you may be reported for summons to go to court.

A few examples of endorsable and non-endorsable tickets are:

Endorsable

  • speeding
  • going through a red light
  • driving without due care and attention
  • pedestrian crossing offences
  • no insurance (£300 and 6 penalty points)
  • using a mobile phone whilst driving (£200 and 6 penalty points)

Non-endorsable

  • drive a vehicle with no MOT (£100)
  • fail to comply with some traffic signs e.g. give-way sign, manually operated stop sign, road markings
  • failing to wear a seatbelt
  • parking offences
Local Authority Civilian Enforcement Officers may also issue fixed penalty tickets for a range of offences e.g. parking, selling/repairing vehicles at the roadside or abandoned vehicles. If you have any issues with a ticket you will need to contact the agency who issued it, as the police have no involvement with tickets issued by local council Civilian Enforcement Officers and vice versa.


Answer

You should attend at your chosen police station with the ticket and the rest of your documents (insurance and MOT) in order to comply with the ticket. The person who takes the details will note that you have not produced your licence and you are likely to be reported. The speeding ticket and the failure to produce your licence will both be dealt with at court and a summons will be issued to you in due course. You do not always have to attend court and may be able to plead guilty by letter. The summons you receive will tell you whether this is possible.

It is advisable if you have not already done so to apply for a new licence as soon as possible (see Related Information). If the licence comes shortly afterwards it may be worth contacting the central ticket office of your local police force to see if they will allow you to pay the speeding fine without the possibility of attending court. This is discretionary as after 28 days a summons will be issued.


Answer

If a speed camera has recorded you speeding, you will receive a notice of intended prosecution/conditional offer. The notice of intended prosecution will be accompanied by a Section 172 notice, which you are required to complete to confirm the identity of the driver. Failure to provide these details may amount to an offence for which a prosecution could be pursued.

There is a statutory duty on all keepers of motor vehicles to be able to provide details of who has been driving the vehicle and keeping records is obviously the easiest way of doing this.


Answer

Each force operates under their own guidance and although they are not obliged to provide the photographic evidence, some will. However, many forces will not release photographic evidence unless the ticket is challenged (plead not guilty). You can request the photographic evidence and in doing so you must provide your Notice number and vehicle registration number, and you must be the person named on the notice of intended prosecution. Your request will then be considered by the relevant force in line with their guidance and policy, and you may then be sent the evidence, which will usually include the photographic evidence and/or a statement.

Any person accused of a criminal offence has the right to defend themselves and in order to do this, evidence of the breach of law must be provided to them. There is no requirement as to exactly what that evidence must be, only that it is evidence of the breach of the law and that you will be able to have a fair hearing.


Answer

The usual length of time to return a licence is four weeks. If you have still not received your licence back after this length of time you should contact the Central Ticket/Fixed Penalty Office of the police force involved, they should be able to assist you.


Answer

Yes, you can challenge the fixed penalty notice; there will be information on how to do so on the reverse of the ticket. The police cannot offer legal advice on this so we would suggest that you seek legal support from a solicitor, please see link to the Citizens Advice Bureau in Related Information.

You will still be required to produce your documents at your chosen police station. You will be sent a summons in due course with a date for the court hearing. For any further enquiries relating to a fixed penalty notice, you will need to contact the Central Ticket Office within your local police force.


Answer

A disabled parking badge (otherwise known as a Blue Badge) is intended for on-street parking only. Off-street car parks, such as those provided by shopping centres, hospitals or supermarkets are covered by separate rules.

There are on-street parking concessions available to you as a Blue Badge holder. However, you must always check signs to see that the rules are when parking as some time limits may apply in certain areas.

If you wish to challenge the ticket, you need to write to the address on it stating your reasons as to why you think the ticket should be cancelled - if it concerns a disabled parking permit you should include a photocopy of it.

The link below explains how to challenge a parking ticket:

Parking fines and penalty charge notices: challenging a ticket


Answer

There are two types of ticket:

  • Non-endorsable tickets mostly cost £50 (some are £100 e.g. no MoT) and you won't receive points on your licence
  • Endorsable tickets mostly cost £100 and your driving licence will be endorsed with 3 points but some attract a higher fine and 6 points e.g. driving whilst uninsured (£300 fine and 6 points) or using a mobile phone (£200 fine and 6 points).

Certain offences attract a £30 fine (£40 if committed in Greater London).


Answer

If a police officer issued you with a ticket that you have then lost, you should go to your chosen police station. You will need to take your driving documents with you and inform them that you have lost the ticket. It is likely that you will be dealt with by the court and will receive a summons in the post. The summons will either give a date when you need to attend court or give you an opportunity to plead guilty by letter.

If you have received the ticket through the post and have lost it, you will need to contact the Central Ticket/Fixed Penalty Office of the force concerned and provide them with the registration number of the vehicle you were driving at the time.

If the fixed penalty was given by the council, you will need to contact them via the link below:

GOV.UK - find your local council


Answer

You can either pay by cheque or by credit/debit card. Payment details are on the back of the ticket.

You can no longer pay cash for fixed penalty notices. Many forces have automated payment lines.


Answer

There are two ways of failing to pay a fine on a fixed penalty notice:

  1. You reject the fixed penalty notice from the start. You will receive a summons to go to court. You can either then plead guilty by letter or elect to go to court. If found guilty at court you may be given a slightly larger fine and you will have to pay the court costs (approximately £40).
  2. If you accept the penalty notice but then fail to pay within 28 days, the fine is registered with the court and is automatically increased by 50%. It is then for the court to enforce the fine and they do have the option of issuing a warrant for your arrest if you fail to respond.


Answer

You will need to contact the police force that is dealing with the matter directly and ask to speak to someone in the Fixed Penalty / Central Ticket Office – you can do this by:

  • Calling the 101 non-emergency telephone number.
  • Using the 'contact us' page on their website – please see Q727 for a list of links to police websites.

If you experience any difficulties with contacting your force via the above methods, we suggest you visit your local police station to see if they can help.


Answer

The police will send a notice to the address where the vehicle is registered to.

The police must serve the notice to arrive within 14 days on the registered keeper of the vehicle. As long as the notice is posted within that time limit, this is presumed to be good service (though this can be challenged).

For more information on Notices of Intended Prosecution, see Q557

Please also see the Government website in Related Information


Answer

You should inform your insurance company of any penalty points you have received. The details you provide to them form the basis for your insurance quote and subsequent insurance cover. If any of the details change or are incorrect and you do not inform your insurer, it may affect your cover.


Answer

You can produce your documents at any police station in the country, so do not worry if you cannot get to your chosen one. As long as you have your ticket or the producer (HO/RT1) given to you by the police officer it will not be a problem to produce them at another station.


Answer

Speed cameras are calibrated once a year as per the set guidelines. The cameras very rarely malfunction and if they do the faults are spotted before any notices of intended prosecution are issued and sent out.

Please also see the link in Related Information for official Government documentation on this topic.


Answer

Please see details of how long penalty points / endorsements may stay on your licence below.

4 years from the date of offence for endorsement codes

Code

Offence

Points

AC10

Failing to stop after an accident

5 to 10

AC20

Failing to give particulars or report an accident within 24 hours

5 to 10

AC30

Undefined accident offences

4 to 9

BA10

Driving while disqualified by order of court

6

BA30

Attempting to drive while disqualified by order of court

6

CD10

Driving without due care and attention

3 to 9

CD20

Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users

3 to 9

CD30

Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users

3 to 9

CU10

Using a vehicle with defective brakes

3

CU20

Causing or likely to cause danger by reason of use of unsuitable vehicle or using a vehicle with parts or accessories (excluding brakes, steering or tyres) in a dangerous condition

3

CU30

Using a vehicle with defective tyres

3

CU40

Using a vehicle with defective steering

3

CU50

Causing or likely to cause danger by reason of load or passengers

3

CU80

Breach of requirements as to control of the vehicle, such as using a mobile phone

3 to 6

DR40

In charge of a vehicle while alcohol level above limit (If a disqualification isn't imposed)

10

DR50

In charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink (If a disqualification isn't imposed)

10

DR60

Failure to provide a specimen for analysis in circumstances other than driving or attempting to drive (If a disqualification isn't imposed)

10

DR70

Failing to provide specimen for breath test (If a disqualification isn't imposed)

4

DG40

In charge of a vehicle while drug level above specified limit (If a disqualification isn't imposed)

10

DR90

In charge of a vehicle when unfit through drugs (If a disqualification isn't imposed)

10

IN10

Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks

6 to 8

LC20

Driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence

3 to 6

LC30

Driving after making a false declaration about fitness when applying for a licence

3 to 6

LC40

Driving a vehicle having failed to notify a disability

3 to 6

LC50

Driving after a licence has been cancelled (revoked) or refused on medical grounds

3 to 6

MS10

Leaving a vehicle in a dangerous position

3

MS20

Unlawful pillion riding

3

MS30

Play street offences

2

MS50

Motor racing on the highway

3 to 11

MS60

Offences not covered by other codes (including offences relating to breach of requirements as to control of vehicle)

3

MS70

Driving with uncorrected defective eyesight

3

MS80

Refusing to submit to an eyesight test

3

MS90

Failure to give information as to identity of driver etc.

6

MW10

Contravention of special roads regulations (excluding speed limits) (Motorway offences)

3

PC10

Undefined contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations

3

PC20

Contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations with moving vehicle

3

PC30

Contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations with stationary vehicle

3

SP10

Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits

3 to 6

SP20

Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles)

3 to 6

SP30

Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road

3 to 6

SP40

Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit

3 to 6

SP50

Exceeding speed limit on a motorway

3 to 6

TS10

Failing to comply with traffic light signals

3

TS20

Failing to comply with double white lines

3

TS30

Failing to comply with 'stop' sign

3

TS40

Failing to comply with direction of a constable/warden

3

TS50

Failing to comply with traffic sign (excluding 'stop' signs, traffic lights or double white lines)

3

TS60

Failing to comply with a school crossing patrol sign

3

TS70

Undefined failure to comply with a traffic direction sign

3

UT50

Aggravated taking of a vehicle

3 to 11

 

 

 

4 years from the date of conviction for endorsement codes

Code

Offence

Points

BA40

Causing death by driving while disqualified

3 to 11

BA60

Causing serious injury by driving while disqualified

3 to 11

CD80

Causing death by careless, or inconsiderate driving

3 to 11

CD90

Causing death by driving: unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured drivers

3 to 11

DD10

Causing serious injury by dangerous driving

3 to 11

DD40

Dangerous driving

3 to 11

DD60

Manslaughter or culpable homicide while driving a vehicle

3 to 11

DD80

Causing death by dangerous driving

3 to 11

DD90

Furious driving

3 to 9

DR40

In charge of a vehicle while alcohol level above limit (If a disqualification is imposed)

10

DR50

In charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink (If a disqualification is imposed)

10

DR60

Failure to provide a specimen for analysis in circumstances other than driving or attempting to drive (If a disqualification is imposed)

10

DR70

Failing to provide specimen for breath test (If a disqualification is imposed)

4

DG40

In charge of a vehicle while drug level above specified limit (If a disqualification is imposed)

10

DR90

In charge of a vehicle when unfit through drugs (If a disqualification is imposed)

10

TT99

Disqualification under 'totting-up' - if the total of penalty points reaches 12 or more within 3 years, the driver can be disqualified.

NA

 

 

 

11 years from the date of conviction for endorsement codes

Code

Offence

Points

CD40

Causing death through careless driving when unfit through drink

3 to 11

CD50

Causing death through careless driving when unfit through drugs

3 to 11

CD60

Causing death through careless driving with alcohol level above the limit

3 to 11

CD70

Causing death by careless driving then failing to supply a specimen for alcohol analysis

3 to 11

DR10

Driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above the prescribed limit

3 to 11

DR20

Driving or attempting to drive while unfit through drink

3 to 11

DR30

Driving or attempting to drive then failing to supply a specimen for analysis

3 to 11

DR31

Driving or attempting to drive then refusing to give permission for analysis of a blood sample that was taken without consent due to incapacity

3 to 11

DR61

Refusing to give permission for analysis of a blood sample that was taken without consent due to incapacity in circumstances other than driving or attempting to drive.

10

DG10

Driving or attempting to drive with drug level above the specified limit

3 to 11

DG60

Causing death by careless driving with drug level above the limit

3 to 11

DG80

Driving or attempting to drive when unfit through drugs

3 to 11

 


Answer

A fixed penalty notice is a conditional offer to an alleged offender for them to have the matter dealt with in a set way without resorting to going to court. It is conditional in that the offence committed falls within the remit of the fixed penalty system and that the alleged offender fits the criteria i.e. would not be liable to disqualification under totting up procedures and is willing to surrender their licence if the matter is endorsable.

The acceptance of the ticket gives the alleged offender options and if they feel that for any reason either then or at a later stage that they wish to contest the matter, they can by completing the requisite parts of the form to request a court hearing.

The fact that the time and date may be wrong is not necessarily a bar to proceedings continuing and it would be for the court to decide if those matters seriously affected the alleged offender's right to a fair hearing.

It may also be worth writing to the appropriate office (details on back of ticket) setting out the reasons why you think the ticket should be made void prior to you officially challenging it. If the ticket has been given out by the local authority and you are not happy with their reply then there is an ombudsman who will review such cases.

It is also important to note that even if it is found that the ticket is invalid then this does not mean an end to the matter. All it means is that, if appropriate, the police can proceed by issuing a summons for court. The alleged offender will not then be able to take advantage of the fixed penalty system and if found guilty at court will have a criminal conviction. It is advisable to take legal advice from a lawyer prior to making any decision on this matter.

 


Answer

The purpose of a notice of intended prosecution (NIP) is to inform a potential defendant that they may be prosecuted for an offence they have committed, whilst the incident is still fresh in their memory.

When you receive a NIP it doesn't automatically mean that you are going to face prosecution, it is a warning that you may face prosecution.

The NIP must be served on the driver or registered keeper within 14 days of the offence otherwise the offence cannot proceed at court. If the details of the driver are not known, then it is sent to the registered keeper. In either case, so long as it arrives at the relevant address within the time limit the notice is valid.

If the registered keeper has changed address/not informed DVLA etc., as long as the NIP arrived at the address on record for the registered keeper within 14 days, it is still valid. The registered keeper then has an obligation to identify the driver.

The driver may then receive further paperwork in due course, but that is not to be confused with the document that is legally required to be sent within 14 days.

NIPs can also be issued verbally to the driver at the time of the offence or alternatively, you could receive a court summons through the post for the alleged offence within 14 days.

Small mistakes on the notice do not render it ineffective unless it would mislead the potential defendant.

A Notice shall be deemed to have been served on a person if it was posted to them at their last known address, notwithstanding that the notice was returned as undelivered or was for any other reason not received by them. A posted NIP is deemed to be served until the contrary is shown.


Answer

No, the paper counterpart to photocard driving licences is no longer valid and is no longer issued by the DVLA (Note: this does not affect photocard licences issued by the DVLA in Northern Ireland). So, if you have a photocard licence, you only need to surrender the photocard part - see the question on paper counterpart licences for further information.


Answer

You still need to attend at the chosen police station to show your driving documents. You should explain the circumstances and see if they are willing to grant an extension. Extensions are discretionary and it will be up to each Force as to whether they are granted or not.


Answer

No, the whole amount must be paid in full within 28 days. You can pay by credit or debit card.

If you contact the Central Ticket Office of the force involved via 101 they may be able to offer you some assistance.


Answer

You can't suggest that you want to do a Speed Awareness Course, if you are eligible to attend the course you will be notified by the police. The criteria operated by each Police Force in relation to attending SACs differs slightly. The following are the guidelines operated by one police force:

  • You have admitted to being the driver of the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence and returned the documentation within the 28 day period calculated from the date the notice was sent to you.
  • No more than 12 weeks have elapsed since the date of the alleged offence.
  • There were no further offences committed at the time of the alleged offence.
  • You have not attended a speed awareness course within the 3 years prior to the current offence.
  • You were driving at a speed which qualifies as per the table below.

 

Limit Device tolerance Fixed Penalty when education is not appropriate Speed Awareness if appropriate Summons in all other cases and above
From To
20 mph 22 mph 24 mph 24 mph 31 mph 35 mph
30 mph 32 mph 35 mph 35 mph 42 mph 50 mph
40 mph 42 mph 46 mph 46 mph 53 mph 66 mph
50 mph 52 mph 57 mph 57 mph 64 mph 76 mph
60 mph 62 mph 68 mph 68 mph 75 mph 86 mph
70 mph 73 mph 79 mph 79 mph 86 mph 96 mph
All speeds identified above are those shown on the speed device, speedometer or other detection devices

Please note that because the guidelines differ from one force to another, if you have a particular question in relation to your eligibility to attend the course, you will need to contact your local police using the non-emergency 101 number and ask to speak to someone in either the Central Ticket Office/Process Bureau or Fixed Penalty Office (names vary between different police forces). You may need to keep trying the number because the lines are usually very busy.

 

 

 

 


Answer

It is the responsibility of the last known registered keeper of the vehicle to provide details of who was driving at the time of the alleged offence. Failure to do so could result in a fine.

If you do not know who was driving then you should contact the Central Ticket Office of the force concerned who will advise you what action to take as policy may vary from force to force. Photographic evidence (if available) may resolve the issue.

If it is a company vehicle and no driver can be identified then it may be the company secretary/director who is prosecuted for failure to furnish driver details. A company may argue that they don't keep records of who drives their vehicles so the required information cannot be supplied. However, any such argument will fail at court unless the company can prove not only that it doesn't keep records but also that failing to keep records is reasonable in the circumstances.


Answer

Depending on the offence, penalty points and disqualifications are valid for either 3 or 10 years, but they remain on your record for an additional year. Please see the link in Related Information which tells you how long points will remain on your driving record.


If you apply for a driving licence at the age of 17, any points you received as a 15-year-old will be shown on your driving record - you can view your driving record via the link in Related Information.


If you acquire further points on your licence so that the number reaches 6 or more within 2 years of passing your test your licence will be revoked and if you obtain 12 points with a 3 year period, you will be disqualified.


Answer

Twelve penalty points on your licence within 3 years will mean that you face disqualification under the 'totting up' procedure.

If you have 9 or more penalty points on your licence then you cannot accept any further fixed penalty tickets and must go to court.

For further information see Q368 (how long penalty points last) and Q713 (penalty points for newly qualified drivers)


Answer

You need to contact the Camera Unit of the Central Ticket Office (sometimes called Central Process Bureau or similar) of the force concerned to ask for a copy and in most circumstances you will be issued with a copy document.

If it was a conditional offer and you have failed to pay or contact the Camera Unit, you may be issued with a summons to attend court.

If it was a summons you must contact the court in question as a failure to appear at court could lead to a warrant for your arrest being issued.

Do not delay. There are time limits on these processes and they can get more expensive (or even lead to your arrest) if you do nothing.


Answer

Unfortunately it is up to you as the registered keeper to satisfy the issuer of the ticket that it was not you or your car at the time and place where the alleged offence occurred. Here are some suggestions on how to deal with it.

  1. You could consider taking a photograph of the rear of your vehicle that may show that it was not your car. Hopefully there will be small differences between your car and the cloned one.
  2. Legally manufactured number plates must have the details of the manufacturer on them so that may also be a way of distinguishing the vehicles, providing the photograph is of a high enough quality.
  3. If you park your car in a car park whilst at work the operator may have CCTV evidence to prove that your car was there at the time of the alleged offence.

If this is a regular occurrence (and especially if the tickets are from your local area) contact your local police.

Number plate cloning and car cloning are becoming a growing problem (though it is still on a relatively small scale in the scheme of things), but the Government is looking at ways of reducing it.


Answer

Rule 219 of The Highway Code states:

'You should look and listen for ambulances, fire engines, police, doctors or other emergency vehicles using flashing blue, red or green lights and sirens or flashing headlights, or Highways Agency Traffic Officer and Incident Support vehicles using flashing amber lights. When one approaches do not panic. Consider the route of such a vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass, while complying with all traffic signs. If necessary, pull to the side of the road and stop, but try to avoid stopping before the brow of a hill, a bend or narrow section of road. Do not endanger yourself, other road users or pedestrians and avoid mounting the kerb. Do not brake harshly on approach to a junction or roundabout, as a following vehicle may not have the same view as you.'

Therefore, as outlined above, if there is an emergency vehicle behind you with its emergency warning signals on, it might be possible for you to manoeuvre out of the way to allow it through. Ideally this should be to the side of the road without encroaching into the main area of the junction (see below). It should only be done when it is safe to do so without putting yourself or other members of the public in danger and it should only be done slowly and carefully.

If you do cross the stop line at the junction whilst the lights are on red, you will commit the offence of contravening a red traffic light. It's important to remember that in committing the offence (crossing the stop line) the onus will be on you to provide evidence that you did so to allow an emergency vehicle through. That may be considered as mitigation, but there is no guarantee that it will be. If the police decide to prosecute you for the offence and you choose to challenge that decision, it will ultimately be a matter for a court to decide.


Answer

If you acquire 6 or more penalty points within 2 years of passing your first driving test you will automatically have your licence revoked. To get it back you must apply and pay for a new provisional licence, drive as a learner (supervision, 'L' plates etc.) and pass both theory (including hazard perception) and practical tests again.

You can acquire penalty points on your provisional licence before you pass your test but if you then receive more points after passing your test, taking the total to 6 or more, your licence will be revoked. Having your licence revoked when you have acquired 6 or more penalty points does not 'wipe the slate clean', any live penalty points will still be shown on your licence when you get it back.

Revocation only applies where the offence that causes the points to number 6 or more is committed during the probationary period (2 years from passing your test). This means that if you obtain 6 points or more points before you have taken your test you can still pass your test and obtain your licence, but if you obtain any more points within 2 years of passing your test, your licence will be revoked.

Note: If the points on your licence number 12 or more within a three year period, you will be liable to be disqualified under the 'totting up' provisions – usually for at least 6 months.

Note: The penalty for using a mobile phone whilst driving is 6 penalty points and a £200 fine. For newly qualified drivers this could result in your licence being revoked for a single offence.


Answer

No, the officer issuing the ticket can stick it to any area of the vehicle. Ordinarily officers will attach the ticket to the windscreen because it is most visible in this position. In most cases they will place the ticket under a windscreen wiper in order that it does not blow away, hence the reason it may seem to be a requirement for it to be placed on the windscreen.

Some local areas may have different methods of notification and will not issue a parking ticket in this manner. For example, Officers/Wardens may take a photograph using a digital time stamp and issue the ticket via post. There are also CCTV systems covering parking places which work on the same principle.


Answer

Providing you pay the fixed penalty within the time limit you won't get a criminal conviction and so you won't have a criminal record.


Answer

There is a substantial body of research showing that using a mobile phone whilst driving, even legally via hands-free, is a considerable distraction and greatly increases the risk of a driver being involved in an accident. This is because of the mental distraction and the driver having to divide their attention between using their phone/device and driving. Therefore, we would suggest that you don't use a mobile phone/device, even hands-free, whilst driving.
 
Standard of driving
It's important to realise that even if you aren't contravening the mobile phone/other hand-held device legislation explained below, if operating any device whether it's hand-held or not, affects your driving, you can still commit offences such as not being in proper control of your vehicle, careless or even dangerous driving. This also applies to operating any device in your vehicle e.g. car radio, sat-nav etc. Note that if you were involved in an accident and your telephone records showed that you were using your mobile at the time of the incident, even via voice activation, it could have serious legal implications.

Mobile phone/other hand-held devices – legal requirements
The law states that no person shall drive, or cause or permit to be driven, a motor vehicle on a road if the driver is using:
 
  • a hand-held mobile telephone, or
  • a hand-held device other than a two-way radio, which is capable of transmitting and receiving data, whether or not those capabilities are enabled.

Additionally, no person shall supervise a holder of a provisional licence if the person supervising is using a hand-held mobile telephone or a hand-held device as above at a time when the provisional licence holder is driving a motor vehicle on a road.
 
A mobile telephone or other device is to be treated as hand-held if it is, or must be, held at some point while being used.
 
Using includes the following –
 
  • Illuminating the screen
  • Checking the time
  • Checking notifications
  • Unlocking the device
  • Making, receiving, or rejecting a telephone or internet-based call
  • Sending, receiving or uploading oral or written content
  • Sending, receiving or uploading a photo or video
  • Utilising camera, video, or sound recording functionality
  • Drafting any text
  • Accessing any stored data such as documents, books, audio files, photos, videos, films, playlists, notes or messages
  • Accessing an application
  • Accessing the internet.

What does this mean?
The offence of using a hand-held mobile phone or similar device is triggered when a driver holds a mobile phone or similar device and uses it, regardless of whether that use involves interactive communication. This covers any device which is capable of interactive communication even if that functionality is not enabled at the time, for example, because mobile data is switched off, or the device is in flight mode.

Provided that a phone/device can be operated without holding it, then hands-free equipment is not prohibited by the above requirements.

Pushing buttons/touching a phone while it's in a cradle is not covered by the above offence, provided you don't hold the phone. Therefore, in our opinion, if the device can allow for hands-free calls, such as when using Apple's Siri voice command system or using a car's compatible systems, it would be legal but inadvisable to use whilst driving. However, we would emphasise that ultimately this would be a matter for a court to decide.

The use of a mobile phone or similar device for texting/internet access etc., while driving is also prohibited if the phone/device has to be held in order to operate it.

What is the penalty for using a mobile phone/device?
Using a mobile phone/device in breach of the above requirements carries 6 points and a £200 fine.
 
Can I use my phone as a sat nav?
The use of a phone as a sat nav is lawful providing you don't have to hold it at any time. Please see the section on 'Mobile phone/other hand-held devices – legal requirements' for information on touching the screen etc.

Mobile phone - use when parked
Whether someone is driving in terms of the law is a question of fact and degree and is ultimately a matter for a court to decide. If you are sitting in the driving seat of a vehicle on a road with the engine running you will usually be deemed to be driving for the purposes of this offence. There have even been cases where people have been found to be driving when they have let the vehicle roll forward without the engine running. In order to ensure you don't break the law in relation to using a phone/device when parked in a safe and lawful place, we would suggest the following:
 
  • Use a hands-free kit
  • Use the phone/device outside the vehicle
  • Ideally, don't use the phone/device at all

Mobile phone - positioning
The law does not state where your phone cradle must be positioned providing it doesn't obscure your view from the vehicle – if it does you could commit an offence.

Must my phone be in a cradle?
If at any point you have to hold your phone/device to use it whilst driving, you will commit an offence. Therefore, it is best to secure it in a suitable cradle.

What about queuing in traffic?
It's illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device if you're stopped in queuing traffic e.g. at traffic lights, hold-ups etc. Whilst there may be situations when drivers are held for hours in a queue of traffic e.g. following a serious accident, the legislation doesn't specifically provide an exemption in such circumstances. Therefore, to ensure you don't commit an offence in relation to using a mobile phone in such a situation, we would suggest using a hands-free kit.

Are there any exemptions?
Yes, there are three exemptions to the above provisions if someone is using the mobile telephone or other device to:
 
  • Call the police, fire, ambulance or other emergency service on 112 or 999, in response to a genuine emergency, and it is unsafe or impracticable for them to cease driving in order to make the call (or if applicable for the provisional licence holder to cease driving while the call was being made).
  • Perform a remote controlled parking function of the motor vehicle, and that mobile telephone or other device only enables the motor vehicle to move where:
    • there is continuous activation of the remote control application of the telephone or device by the driver,
    • the signal between the motor vehicle and the telephone or the motor vehicle and the device, as appropriate, is maintained, and
    • the distance between the motor vehicle and the telephone or the motor vehicle and the device, as appropriate, is not more than 6 metres.
  • Make a contactless payment for goods/services which are received at the same time as, or after, the contactless payment is made and the motor vehicle is stationary.

Wearable technology
It is not yet clear whether using a smartwatch strapped to your wrist would constitute a hand-held device for the purposes of the mobile phone legislation – this matter would have to be decided by the courts. However, if operating such a device affects your driving, you can still commit offences such as not being in proper control of your vehicle, careless or even dangerous driving – see the section on 'Standard of driving' for further information. Additionally, the legislation on viewing a screen may also apply – see the sections on 'Viewing a screen'. and 'Mobile phone/other hand-held devices – legal requirements' for information in relation to the use of voice command systems.

Viewing a screen
Legislation states that no person shall drive or cause or permit to be driven a motor vehicle on a road if the driver is in such a position as to be able to see, directly or by reflection, a television screen or similar apparatus except one showing information:
 
  • about the state of the vehicle or its equipment e.g. screen warning lights;
  • about the location of the vehicle and the road on which it is located e.g. some GPS tracking devices;
  •  to assist the driver to see the road adjacent to the vehicle e.g. reversing cameras; or
  • to assist the driver to reach their destination e.g. sat navs.

In-ear earphones
There is no specific legislation that applies to using head/earphones whilst riding/driving. However, when driving it is best not to do anything that restricts your senses or concentration, as this may impede your awareness of or reaction to a situation. If this occurred, depending on the circumstances, you could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention but this would ultimately be a matter for a court to decide.

Cyclists
The mobile phone legislation only applies to motor vehicles. However, if a cyclist was using a mobile phone, they could commit offences such as careless or dangerous cycling.

Two-way radios
The use of 2-way radio equipment (unless the device can also be used as a phone) when driving is not included in the mobile phone legislation but note that if a device is a dual or multi-purpose device that can be used both as a mobile phone and a 2-way radio, the use of the device while driving or supervising a provisional licence holder is prohibited. Use is prohibited whether the device is being used as a 2-way radio or as a mobile phone. However, whilst the law on mobile phones doesn't apply to a two-way radio, if operating such a radio affects your driving, you can still commit offences such as not being in proper control of your vehicle, careless or even dangerous driving – see the section on 'Standard of driving' for further information.

Using a mobile phone/smartwatch to scan
Please see the ‘Are there any exemptions’ section above.
 

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