Tag Archives: Traffic

Mobile Phones… again

Driving and using a mobile phone is a topic that keeps on cropping up. It really is an issue that taxes motorists and causes them much anxiety, especially as the police seem to be increasing their vigilance now that the penalties have been increased in the light of recent notorious cases where road users have tragically died. Read More

Mobile Phones… again
One of the easiest ways to collect 6 penalty points on your driver’s licence is…

One of the easiest ways to collect 6 penalty points on your driver’s licence is…

…mobile phones!  Yes, doing almost anything with a mobile phone in a vehicle is about the easiest way to attract the attention of the police and collect a straight 6 points without really trying. Just a touch on the screen of your mobile device can be considered an offence and get you into trouble.

The legal bit:  Regulation 110 (1) and (2) of The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) (No 4) Regulations 2003 prohibits a person from driving, or causing or permitting a person to drive, a motor vehicle on a road if the driver is using a held-hand mobile telephone or a hand-held device.

When is it in use?  The law says that a phone or device will be in use where it is making or receiving a call, or performing any other interactive communication function whether with another person or not.

What’s use?  The particular use to which the mobile phone must be put is not defined as an element of this road traffic offence. The prosecution must merely prove that the phone (or the other device) was hand held by the person at some point during its use at a time when the person was driving a vehicle on a road.

This sounds all very restrictive, I hear you say.  Yes, it is!  Very restrictive indeed and it’s almost impossible to hold and use a mobile phone while driving and be legal.

The words “any other interactive communication function” while being a right mouthful are, frankly, critical.  Even if you aren’t engaged in a conversation on the phone while driving you are highly likely to be breaching the regulation if you are doing something else with the phone.  So being curious to see if that beeping noise is a text or Facebook message arriving even with no intention of actually reading it, let alone replying to it, is going to be enough.  Equally, if you use the phone to stream music to your car music system and want to make some alteration using the phone itself then that will be another interactive communication function.  The problem is the words interactive communication function are not defined and so it’s really easy to fall foul of the legislation.

But, I hear you say, I was stuck in stationary traffic which wasn’t going anywhere.  No, don’t think about using that phone even if you have stop start technology built in; you’re not properly parked and you haven’t properly switched off the engine.

The Government advice to put the mobile in the glovebox is actually very wise – or if not in the glovebox then firmly in your pocket or somewhere out of the way completely.  Forget about it until the end of your journey.

Can’t I ever use a mobile phone on the move and avoid a road traffic offence?  The only time you can legally use a mobile phone while on the move is in the event of a genuine emergency and, even then, you need to be sure it’d be unsafe or impracticable to cease driving while the call is made.

In almost every instance don’t touch the phone when you’re on the move!

Michael McGhie, our Road Traffic expert will be pleased to talk with you about your case and discuss the options available to you. If you have  any queries please feel free to call us on 01202 877 400 or email michaelmcghie@newnham-jordan.co.uk.

Road Traffic Accidents in Autumn

 

As beautiful as Autumn is, the many changes, particularly those in the weather, pose new and dangerous problems on the road.

The transition season brings with it all kinds of problematic hazards for motorists, like:

  • Falling and wet leaves
  • Increased levels of rainfall
  • Increased frequency and strength of winds and breezes
  • Sunsets and sunrises around rush hour times

 

Accidents on the road increase by an average of 15% in October, statistics from the Department of Transport show.

The number of road traffic accidents suffered in October is approximately 21% higher than the figures for similar road incidents in August, which clearly indicates that drivers and cyclists are not adapting to the changing conditions quick enough.

Even more alarmingly, the Department of Transport revealed that car crash fatalities also rise around 14% above the monthly average each October.

The safety advice for driving in the autumn months is simple, but crucial:

  • Go slower than you otherwise might do – it’s better to be late than not arrive at all.
  • Remember to use your lights – once the clocks change again, the evenings start to darken quicker.
  • Have a pair of sunglasses handy – by blocking or shielding the setting or rising sun from your eyes you can prevent a potential car accident.

 

Road Traffic Accidents in Autumn
Are drink driving offences going out of fashion?

Are drink driving offences going out of fashion?

One would certainly like to think so. The regular and often very graphic anti drink driving offences TV advertisements have played their part and it is highly arguable that drink driving is now viewed by the majority as anti-social, as well as potentially very dangerous.

However for one group of people in British society the picture is less rosy.

Pensioners have been bucking the trend. The number of over 65s convicted of drink driving has risen from 1,295 in 2005 to 1,435 in 2015. Why is this? Probably older drivers tend to retain a misguided view that they can hold their drink better and remain safe to drive. Neither view is actually true but could be a throwback to unfashionable heavy drinking days. The reality is any alcohol consumed before driving increases the risk markedly.

By contrast the numbers of under 19s caught drink driving declined from 6,744 in 2005 to (only) 1,436 in 2015. Evidently young drivers are receiving the message loud and clear. To complete the figures the overall number of people convicted of drink driving has fallen from 84,540 in 2005 to 45,970 in 2015; a very large drop but almost 46,000 is still far too many and offenders will continue to occupy a disproportionately large portion of road traffic law.

Michael McGhie, our Road Traffic expert will be pleased to talk with you about your case and discuss the options available to you. If you have  any queries please feel free to call us on 01202 877 400 or email michaelmcghie@newnham-jordan.co.uk.

New Speeding Fines

From Monday this week the punishment for speeding became harsher. For those a couple of miles an hour over the limit, nothing will change – but the big difference is a significant increase in fines for the worst offenders. For the most serious cases the fine equals to 150% of the offender’s earnings, up to a maximum of £2,500.

The harshest fines will be for people driving on motorways, which gives drivers an indication on government thinking over road safety issues. Those who drive above the speed limit elsewhere could be fined £1,000.

In 2015, 166,695 people in England and Wales were sentenced for speeding with the average fine being £188.

The maximum fines will stay the same, however higher fines are likely to be applied with the new guidelines.

Details of the various speeding bands are in the table below.

New Speeding Fines