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Don't Tweet and Drive

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Most people are fully aware that as a driver of a vehicle we are not permissible to use a mobile phone whilst driving.  However, most people are not aware that it would be an offence to supervise a holder of a provisional licence whilst using a hand-held mobile telephone[1].

Alternatively, it is it an offence to drive or supervise a provisional licence holder (learner driver) while using a mobile telephone or other hand-held interactive communication device[2].

An interactive communication device will be treated as hand-held if it is, or it must be, held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call or performing any interactive communication function such as:

  • sending or receiving written messages

  • sending or receiving facsimile documents

  • sending or receiving still or moving images

  • providing access to the internet

However, this does not include two-way radios, which are exempt from this classification, such as those used in taxis and by the emergency services.

You will not, however, have contravened said provisions where:

  • The call is to an emergency service using either 999 or 112; and

  • The caller is acting in response to a genuine emergency; and

  • That it is unsafe or impractical for the provisional licence holder to cease driving whilst the call was being made.

Any person charged with this offence who alleges that any of the exempt circumstances outlined above exist will need to give evidence in a court of law as to the reason why that person was using a hand-held telephone or other interactive communication device whilst supervising a provisional licence holder.

From 1st March 2017 the penalty, if you are caught committing the above offence, will be that you are issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice, as well as a £200 fine and 6 points on your licence.

In the event that this goes to court, the punishment can be as high as:

  • A fine of up to £1,000 for smaller vehicles;

  • Obligatory endorsement of six penalty points; and

  • Discretionary disqualification.

It is important to be aware of these rules, before you choose to supervise a learner driver on the road – think before you tweet about giving your younger sibling / friend / family member a driving lesson!

If you or a family member requires some advice or assistance in regards to a road traffic offence, please call us on 020 7824 0800 for assistance.


[1] The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2003 amended the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986.

[2] Section 41D of The Road Traffic Act 1988, as inserted by the Road Safety Act 2006.



This article is not a definitive statement of the law. It is designed as a free update on the law at the time of publishing. It is not a substitute for legal advice on specific facts and circumstances. BakerLaw LLP and/or the writer accepts no liability or responsibility for reliance on this article and recommends that you seek independent legal advice on your specific circumstances prior to taking any steps.