Most people should be aware that using a mobile phone or any handheld device while driving is a criminal offence. However, it is surprising how many people still do it. In 2014 the fixed penalty was increased to £100 and three penalty points for this offence in an attempt to deter drivers from doing it. New measures by the DVLA will have serious consequences for HGV drivers. The DVLA will now issue letters to HGV drivers who get penalty points put on their licence for mobile phone use whilst driving. The letter outlines the risks of doing it and also warns the driver that a second offence will result in an automatic referral to the Traffic Commissioner. A second offence will result in a second letter to confirm the referral. A hearing with the Traffic Commissioner could lead to further fines or suspension of the driver’s professional licence. The Senior Traffic Commissioner’s statutory guidance and directions states that the starting point for a mobile phone offence committed in an HGV is the suspension of the driver’s vocational driving entitlement for 21 days. The following guidelines will help drivers:
- Hang up if you call someone who is driving.
- Put your phone on voicemail or do not answer calls while driving and listen to messages when parked.
- Use your phone when safely parked.