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Mobile phone law for drivers could be torn up after High Court ruling

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Mobile phone law for drivers could be torn up after High Court ruling Empty Mobile phone law for drivers could be torn up after High Court ruling

Post by jss64 on Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:15 pm

Mobile phone law for drivers could be torn up after High Court ruling

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/cars/news/mobile-phone-law-for-drivers-could-be-torn-up-after-high-court-ruling/ar-AAFmCEt?ocid=spartanntp

The law on using a mobile phone while driving may have to be ripped up and rewritten following a landmark High Court decision.

The Court agreed with lawyers for a driver found guilty of using his phone to film an accident scene, who argued that the wording of the law meant he had been wrongly convicted.
The decision could have massive implications for thousands of drivers found guilty of using their phone for everything from taking photos to choosing music, who could see their convictions overturned.
The standard penalty for using a handheld phone while driving is six points and a £200 fine.

Filming an accident
The ruling centred on the case of builder Ramsey Barreto, who was convicted of driving while using a handheld phone after police spotted him filming while driving past the scene of a serious accident in Ruislip, north London.
His conviction was later overturned at Isleworth Crown Court before the Director Of Public Prosecutions challenged the decision in the High Court.
Now the High Court has agreed with Barreto’s lawyers that the act of filming didn’t count as “using” his phone under the wording of the law.

They argued that under the current law, an offence is only committed when a driver is using their phone for “interactive communication” such as calling or texting, and Barreto’s filming with the phone’s camera did not count.
The Crown Prosecution Service argued that the law prohibits any use of a handheld mobile phone but in her judgement Lady Justice Thirwall dismissed this and agreed with Barreto’s lawyers.

Outdated legislation
In her judgement, she said: “The legislation does not prohibit all use of a mobile phone held while driving. It prohibits driving while using a mobile phone or other device for calls and other interactive communication (and holding it at some stage during that process).... It follows that the activity of the respondent did not come within Regulation 110 and the Crown Court was right to quash the conviction.”
Barreto’s solicitor, Emma Patterson, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the outcome of this case.
“We have been arguing for many years that the legislation in relation to the offence of using a handheld mobile phone whilst driving a motor vehicle has failed to keep pace with the evolution of smartphones.
Read more: Thousands of British drivers are being pursued by foreign police forces over unpaid speeding fines (The Telegraph)
“The increasing multi-functionality of smartphones was, in fact, making a mockery of the law.
“We ended up with a situation where you could hold a Casio calculator performing mathematical calculations whilst driving and you would not be committing a mobile phone offence, whereas doing exactly the same thing on the calculator app on a smartphone, according to the way the Police or Crown Prosecution Service were applying the law, meant you would automatically be committing an offence warranting six points and a hefty fine.
“This is not a loophole argument. This is simply the correct application and understanding of the law as it currently stands.”

Lady Justice Thirwall warned that her ruling did not mean people could legally film and use other non-communications functions.
She said: “It should not be thought that this is a green light for people to make films as they drive.
“Driving while filming events or taking photographs whether with a separate camera or with the camera on a phone, may be cogent evidence of careless driving, and possibly of dangerous driving.

“It is criminal conduct which may be prosecuted and on conviction may result in the imposition of penalties significantly more serious than those which flow from breach of the regulations. The same applies to any other use of the phone while driving.”

Grey area
Francis Noakes, of the Get Licensed Driving School, urged lawmakers to revisit the legislation as a ‘matter of urgency’.
He said: “What this test case shows is that, as it stands, prosecutions are far from straightforward and an offence is difficult to prove.
“The law is designed to prohibit active involvement in communication whilst driving.
“If you use an app that allows you to communicate with other people, you’re committing an offence.
“But there’s now a massive grey area. Is checking the weather on an app an offence? Can you make voice memos in your phone with impunity?
“When it comes to road safety, we simply can’t allow for any uncertainty to exist. I’d urge lawmakers to revisit and tighten the legislation as a matter of urgency.”

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Post by assassin on Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:25 am

And the evidence is clear; it is how the po-lice interpret the legislation and try to manipulate it to their advantage to gain a conviction and nothing more.
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Post by flyingfish on Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:22 am

It's about time there started to be some clarity.  It was idiotic that a law supposedly prohibiting using a  mobile phone while driving, failed to define either "using" or "driving".  I guess that now it's a six point offence people are starting to think it worth challenging rather than just rolling over and taking the fixed penalty.

However I wonder whether there may be further challenges it's far from clear even with this judgement.  For example this bit is strictly incorrect if looking at the wording rather than the intent ...
In her judgement, she said: “The legislation does not prohibit all use of a mobile phone held while driving. It prohibits driving while using a mobile phone or other device for calls and other interactive communication (and holding it at some stage during that process).... It follows that the activity of the respondent did not come within Regulation 110 and the Crown Court was right to quash the conviction.”
In fact the legislation says ..
110.—(1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a road if he is using—
(a)a hand-held mobile telephone; or
(b)a hand-held device of a kind specified in paragraph (4).
and
4) A device referred to in paragraphs (1)(b), (2)(b) and (3)(b) is a device, other than a two-way radio, which performs an interactive communication function by transmitting and receiving data.
In other words the judge is doing is making a reasonably assumption about the intent, if interactive communication is what defines the device, then it should also define the use.

Now we need someone to challenge the definition of "driving" as well, as we've seen all sorts of strange assertions about that.

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Post by assassin on Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:48 am

Excellent observation Flyingfish and to add to this, what do the Po-lice now use?

Tetra, a two radio and mobile phone, and a mobile device capable of transmitting and receiving mobile data; so are they going to prosecute every lice, ambulance driver and fire engine driver.
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Post by stile on Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:54 am

"The driver" in the highways act is defined as "a separate steersman". I once tried to claim i was the only person in the car and there was no driver Smile.

As i read it. Section 4 says you can use a 2 way radio... i e CB radio. Thats why the police use them.

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Post by assassin on Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:56 am

Stile, look at their radios, they are two way radios and mobile phones and data devices capable of receiving mobile data as this is Tetra and how it works.
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Post by stile on Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:06 am

The wording was " other than "... i must be miss reading the statment
3)(b) is a device, other than a two-way radio, which performs an interactive communication function by transmitting and receiving data.

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Post by flyingfish on Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:14 am

I read it the same way.  A two-way radio is exempted.  It remains to be seen whether anyone is going to argue that a two-way radio with additional functions is still a "two-way radio".

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Post by itheman on Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:04 pm

They can't have it all their own way, "radio" what is the definition? You turn the radio off on a device you stop the comms, any/all devices!
Definition: driving? Parking? Person?
Fascinating, almost genius, but they're getting greedy...

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Post by aarons1950 on Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:28 pm

Anyone that uses there mobile phone while driving is an idiot, imo.

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Post by itheman on Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:32 pm

Yeah but, hands free was allowed now they're on about making illegal (legislation to get more money off you!) And as mentioned CB radio and Tetra radio, allowed! Justify...

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Post by assassin on Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:23 am

itheman, you have hit the nail on the head as it comes down to wording, they define Tetra systems as two way radios and not multi function devices and this is crucial as they can work as two radios, mobile phones, and mobile data devices.
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Post by flyingfish on Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:10 am

@aarons1950 wrote:Anyone that uses there mobile phone while driving is an idiot, imo.
Maybe but the point of this case is that it's the first time that the exact meaning of "using" has properly considered.  Previously the Police appeared to take the view that any sort of handling constituted using.  And when it was a choice between 3 points and £100 compared to costs of court proceedings I guess a number of people just took it on the chin.  Next we need the definition of "driving" to be considered so people don't have to worry about whether they need to take the keys out, or get out of the driving seat or any of the other things that you hear suggested.

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