Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

New Mobile Phone laws in UK

I hope this is appropriate to post here. Let me know if not! It's not strictly a development issue but I think is somewhat relevant.

I'm sure all of the UK readers here will know about the recent laws introduced that say you can't use a hand-held phone in the car, but you must instead use a hands-free kit.

One of my clients (I'm a consultant) is receiving a lot of backlash from employees having introduced a strict phones in cars policy that basically bans all phones - even ones with a hands free kit - for fear that the company could be in some way liable if the employee caused an accident while talking on the phone for business purposes.

I was just wondering what your companies have done in terms of new policies since this new law came about? Have other companies gone as far as my client or is that too far?

Thanks in advance for anything you can tell me.

James Ussher-Smith
Thursday, January 15, 2004

I don't believe the company would be liable, as the driver of the vehicle (in Australia, at least) would be charged with "Driving without due care and attention" if they crashed while talking on the phone, handsfree or not. However, I could not answer the question of whether or not there is any potential for the company to get sued.

Slightly off-topic, in Australia, we have had fines for a few years regarding not talking on mobile phones while driving, without a hands-free kit. Our laws have just changed from a fine, to a bigger fine + demerit points. Interestingly enough, police are exempt from this and you are still allowed to use a CB radio while driving.

Dan G
Thursday, January 15, 2004

If the employee was on company business in a company vehicle and the phone was provided by the company then in the event of an accident the employer would be liable.  They may even be liable if the phone wasn't provided.

The employee would probably also be liable but its no different to a lorry driver having an accident.

Simon Lucy
Thursday, January 15, 2004

Oh, but if the employee was caught using the phone by the police and they fined him, he's solely responsible for the fine and probably a candidate for disciplinary procedure by his employer.

Simon Lucy
Thursday, January 15, 2004

By the way, in the US at least, the company would be liable even if the employee wasn't on the phone, so their cars should be taken away as well.


Thursday, January 15, 2004

>>but you must instead use a hands-free kit.

Funny that even using speakerphone is allowed. The whole point is that you are much less concentrated on driving when you're on the phone.

So cell phones should be completely banned while driving, like they are this end of the Chunnel.

Frederic Faure
Thursday, January 15, 2004

NYC has the same law. No cell phones in cars. At least not in your hand, I'm a bit fuzzy on the law.
Thursday, January 15, 2004

It's making smoke signals near the petrol tank that should be banned.

Stephen Jones
Friday, January 16, 2004

There's any number of things you can do whilst driving a car that are still legal so long as you don't drive erratically or cause an accident.

A few that come to mind:

Try and get a jammed cassette tape out of the stereo.
Try and put a CD in the right way up.
Search for radio station
Light cigarette
Light passenger's cigarette
Have sex
Yell at kids in back seat
Pick nose
Argue with wife as to directions and/or map
Grope on floor for dropped coins when approaching toll booth

And so on....

By the way, I haven't done all of the above whilst driving, I gave up smoking 18 years or so ago, for instance.

Simon Lucy
Friday, January 16, 2004

I've come to the conclusion that one can get away with any manner of driving in the UK, as long as you don't speed.

Some weeks ago I watched someone over-take a petrol tanker through a turn lane, crossing all manner of hashings and road markings. The police car parked in the layby next to this sat there with its contents quite happily drinking tea.

You can't report people for dangerous driving, for driving without lights on, for driving without working brake lights. There are no traffic patrols to pull people for this stuff, or for using their phones, and speed cameras are the only law enforcement visible.

A couple of weeks back I had reason to call the police. They arrived in a car with only one working headlight. "By the way," I said, "Did you know you have a duff headlight?"

"Yeah. And the locks on the doors aren't working properly either..."

Their latest bright idea is not to have the police stopping people for not having a tax disk, but to just mail out fines. Because people who don't buy tax disks are certain to have kept their keeper's address records up to date...
So the only conclusion I can come to is that I can do anything the hell I want on the roads provided I don't cause an accident or speed past one of their polaroids.

Friday, January 16, 2004

I've seen more near-collisions caused by some redneck woman beating the crap out of her 3 offspring in the backseat.  Yet thats not a moving violation.  If there is going to be such law then it should be 'Driving while distracted'

Friday, January 16, 2004

'Driving while distracted'
is already illegal. no need for more laws specifically for phones.

Friday, January 16, 2004

A handsfree kit won't prevent you from becoming distracted and getting in an accident. Trust me.

He who can eat tacos in the car, but not talk on the phone
Saturday, January 17, 2004

George Carlin once suggested that drivers should be issued suction-cup dart guns with darts that say "Asshole" - you can shoot them at people doing stupid things while driving. When you get enough darts on your car, you get pulled over.

Also on topic, a quote by Emo Philips:
"I got a ticket once for swerving, because I was trying to change the radio. Just as I got the old one out..."


Saturday, January 17, 2004

I am now a little confused. I understand that it is now illegal to drive while talking on a mobile phone so I bought a hands free kit. Now I have been told that my new and expensive hands free kit is also illegal. Could someone explain exactly why I recived a ticket from the police even though I was using a hands free set? And why was I not told that the set was illegal to use by the sailsman?

darren jenkins
Tuesday, February 3, 2004

mobile phones should be used only in emergancy's(while in a car) i think that there should be a strictor law on this

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home