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Road Traffic Act 1988

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 14 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the operation of section 41D of the Road Traffic Act 1988; what representations he has received since this section came into force; and if he will make a statement. (142815)

Section 41D of the Road Traffic Act 1988 was inserted by the Road Safety Act 2006 and came into effect in February 2007. I have received no specific representations on this provision.

Section 41D provides for the punishment of offences relating to construction and use requirements in respect of having proper control of a vehicle and a full view of the road ahead or to use of a hand-held mobile phone or similar device while driving. Breach of any construction and use requirement was already an offence. This section makes specific provision for breach of these particular requirements by introducing a heavier penalty of obligatory endorsement, with disqualification at the court’s discretion if the matter goes to court, or a fixed penalty of £60.

Enforcement of the provision is an operational matter for individual chief officers of police. The likelihood of detection has been increased by the increasing numbers of police, including the deployment on roads of teams involved in the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition equipment (ANPR). They can stop vehicles to deal with offences as the result of direct observation as well as an ANPR hit. The dangers of mobile phone use and the penalties associated with the offence are the subject of a publicity campaign by the Department for Transport.