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‘One-way communication is entirely sufficient’

Briefly, the appellant used his mobile telephone to change the music he was listening to, in the same way you might switch from BBC Radio 2 to BBC Radio 4 on your vehicle’s in-built radio.

The appellant’s music was being played over the vehicle’s in-built sound system. The appellant’s mobile phone was ‘paired’ with the vehicle’s sound system via Bluetooth.

The appellant appealed by way of case stated from a decision in the magistrates’ court, convicting him of an offence of using a hand-held mobile telephone whilst driving contrary to s.41D of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Regulation 110 of the Road Vehicles (Constructions & Use) Regulations 1986.

The issue on appeal was whether or not the appellant had been using an “interactive communication function” for the purposes of the legislation.

The appellant submitted that an “interactive communication function” must involve communication with another person, and not communication with other devices. 

The Court of Appeal referred to the case of DPP v Barreto [2019] EWHC 2044 (Admin) as it correctly states the current law.

The appellant’s conviction was upheld on the basis that the Bluetooth connection was not incidental to the use of his mobile phone.

It was found that the communication may or may not have been one-way but one-way communication was sufficient. The appellant’s mobile interacted with his vehicle’s Bluetooth system and that was enough.

The Court of Appeal were satisfied that the appellant had been rightly convicted by the magistrates.

Read the full full transcript of the appeal

Read the full judgement of the appeal.

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