Transport for London have published a guide to make sure you know where to position smartphone and satnav cradles safely in your vehicle. Understanding the rules could stop you from getting points on your licence and save you money.
Annex 6 of the Highway Code, which deals with vehicle maintenance, states: ‘Windscreens and windows MUST be kept clean and free from obstructions to vision’. That means you shouldn’t put or fix anything on your windscreen that will obscure your view of the road ahead. While that may seem like common sense, operations by the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police’s Roads and Transport Policing Command have seen drivers issued with tickets and Traffic Offence Reports (where they are asked to attend an awareness course) for having mobiles and other devices restricting their vision.
If you place a cradled device on the area on your windscreen that is covered by your wipers (known as the ‘swept area’), you are committing an offence. At present, if you’re prosecuted, you face a fine of up to £100 and three points on your licence.
Driving conditions can change rapidly and hazards, such as pedestrians suddenly stepping in front of you, or bikes coming out of side streets, mean you need to have a clear view of the road. Having a cluttered windscreen increases your likelihood of becoming distracted or not spotting potential dangers. To avoid this, you need to make sure you position any devices so that they do not obstruct your vision.
Jas Sandhu, an inspector with the Metropolitan Police’s Roads and Transport Policing Command, says: ‘Windscreens and windows must be kept clear and free from obstructions which obscure vision.
‘Positioning gadgets within the swept area of windscreens can block the driver’s view, which is a danger to pedestrians, other road users, passengers and the driver.’