London minicab driver hit with big fine and points after mobile phone use at Kings Cross

A London private hire driver was hit with a big fine and points after being found guilty of a mobile phone offence.

The driver was seen by Metropolitan Police officers holding and talking into a mobile phone whilst driving on Pancras Road outside the busy King Cross and St Pancras Train Stations.

Yesterday morning at Willesden Magistrates' Court, the minicab driver was convicted of the mobile phone offence.

The driver was handed six points to their driver's licence, plus a fine and costs totalling £1,390.

Last month Met Police officers sparked confusion after a London taxi driver was reported for using his mobile phone whilst driving.

The driver was reported for being “Not in Proper Control” whilst driving, however the offence caused confusion as to when you can or can’t interact with a mobile device whilst driving, with many citing the use of private hire booking apps.

According to Transport for London (TfL), the use of apps, for example for navigation, on a cradle-mounted phone is lawful if done with common sense and good judgement.

It has been illegal to use a handheld mobile phone or electronic device while driving, or while stopped with the engine on, since 2003.

The law suggests:

  • It's illegal to use a handheld mobile phone or electronic device when driving. This includes using your device to follow a map, read a text or check social media. This applies even if you're stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.

  • You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked with the engine switched off or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency, and it's unsafe or impractical to stop.

  • Using hands-free (where the phone is in a cradle or you are using earphones or a Bluetooth connection) is not illegal. However, if this distracts you and affects your ability to drive safely, you can still be prosecuted by the police.

  • It is illegal to use handheld microphones or to hold your phone out on loudspeaker.

Between 6 April 2016 and 27 February 2017 there were 9,560 mobile phone offences in London, while in 2015, 2 people were killed and 5 seriously injured in collisions where a mobile phone was a contributory factor.

Since 1 March 2017, the penalties for the use of handheld mobile devices while driving have increased to six penalty points on your licence and a £200 fine.

Having points on your licence could increase the cost of your insurance and you can be banned from driving if you get 12 points in three years. If you get 6 points in the first two years after passing your test, you will lose your licence.

Image credit: Pexels

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