Interactive communication function

BIG TOM Admin offers some friendly advice to customers about the offence of using a mobile while driving

The actual offence of using a mobile while driving is held within legislation from Section 41D of the Road Traffic Act 1988

Basically, this comes down to not interacting with any device that can transmit/receive data while you are driving.  (It also relates to any supervisor of a learner driver, so make sure your parents know that before they take you out doing private practice).  Pushing buttons when the device eg mobile, sat nav, ipad is NOT in your hand is ok (more on that in a minute), the problem comes in law, when a driver/supervisor is holding the device.  So any device that has an interactive communication function must not be held in the hand.  This includes when stationary at traffic lights or momentarily paused for any reason.  If a driver needs to make a call for a genuine emergency eg 999 then that is an exemption.

By far the best advice to offer BIG TOM customers is to put the device out of sight AND reach.  The temptation to pick it up can be too strong otherwise.  If you need to make a call (or in any way interact with a device), pull over, turn the engine off, take the key out the ignition first.

The offence code is called CU80 and remains on a licence for 4 years.  Do remember that this must be disclosed to insurance providers.  In terms of punishment, a driver may get 3-6 points on their driver’s licence, a fine up to £2500 or a ban.  If a driver accumulates 6 points on the licence within the first 2 years of passing their driving test, then they would need to re-take the driving test and theory test.

Do be aware that not being in full control of the vehicle while driving could be construed in a court of law as an offence regardless of physically handling devices eg pressing buttons on an in-built radio, adjusting car controls such as heating/lights/wipers.  Dealing with distractions, in general, is definitely covered in your BIG TOM intensive driving course.

Here at BIG TOM Admin we do get many enquiries about certain offence codes on driving licences and due to the variety involved there is a handy link provided here.

We know how hard our customers work on their BIG TOM intensive driving courses to get their full driving licence and it would be a great shame to ever hear of anyone losing their licence due to any driving offence.  The proliferation of mobile phones means that it is highly likely that drivers and passengers get into vehicles with a mobile on them and so our advice here is to put them straight into the glovebox.

Tom Ingram (Owner of BIG TOM Driving School) says:

“I’m pleased that we are offering some clarity on this because there is a lot of misinformation around. Because the devices concerned just need to be capable of accessing the internet, it is not necessary for there to be another person involved in the “interaction” for this offence to still crop up.  The comedian Jimmy Carr went to court for this offence but was cleared when he stated that he was using the device to instantaneously dictate a joke in his mind at the time so that he had a record of it.  Perhaps surprisingly enough, that particular ‘interaction’ was deemed not to fall into this category of offence.  I do like the advice above given by admin about keeping the devices out of reach – by far the best policy.  We are after all only human and open to temptation otherwise.”

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