Mobile phones, penalty points and risk of revocation

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

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

It amends the ban on using mobile phones (or interactive communication devices) while driving. the contravention of which constitutes an offense punishable by a fine and penalty points.

Previously, the offense was committed when a driver, behind the wheel, held a mobile phone (or an interactive communication device) and used it to communicate. This has now been changed and the scope widened, so that:

“…the use of a cell phone or similar device offense is triggered when a driver holds a cell phone or similar device and uses it, whether or not that use involves interactive communication. ..”

Accordingly, it is “…illegal to own and use a phone, sat-nav, tablet or any other device that may be online or offline…” while driving. Exceptions are however available in certain circumstances to allow emergency calls, remote parking functions, contactless payments or in the event of safe parking. In all other situations, hands-free devices can be used.

In the unfortunate case, a driver commits an offence; he can be freed either by a notice of fixed fine or by trial in a magistrates’ court. If a fixed penalty notice is accepted, the driver will be fined £200 and given 6 penalty points. If the case goes to court, the driver risks being disqualified, being fined up to £1,000 and receiving 6 penalty points.

If a driver accepts the Fixed Penalty Notice or is convicted in court, this will likely result in the revocation by Transport for London (TfL) of a Carriage or Private Hire driving licence. TfL makes it clear that in relation to these breaches and penalties, it will consider the following action:

xii Use of Cell Phone or Handheld Device.—Revocation

xii Any other single infraction resulting in six or more penalty points.—Revocation

Although revocation is not automatic, TfL apparently follows the basic position of the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Institute of Licensing (IoL) on these issues. If TfL takes such enforcement action, an affected driver will have the right to appeal the decision.

In future, it is of paramount importance that London carriage and private hire drivers are aware of this prohibition and, if they have not already done so, take reasonable steps to avoid committing a offense.

If you would like to check whether you are affected by matters relating to the Taxi Licensing Act, please contact Travis Morley now on 01159 724928 or email [email protected] or visit www.travismorley.com.

About the Author: Neil Morley is a leading taxi licensing lawyer who founded Travis Morley in 2010. He has consulted on national law reforms, government briefs and well-reported High Court cases. His opinions have been widely sought by professional organizations, businesses and individuals. He has been published in the Law Society Gazette, Journal of Licensing, Professional Driver Magazine and a regular contributor to Private Hire News.