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Here's what to do if you capture a near miss, close pass or collision on camera while cycling

If you've suffered a near miss, close pass or are the victim of any crime on the road while cycling, here's what you need to know about reporting it to the police and submitting your footage...

With the number of cyclists running cameras on the rise and our Near Miss of the Day series now at well over 800 editions, it's probably time for a chat about all things camera footage and what you should do if you capture a close pass or worse...

In fact, the head of road safety at Nextbase — the dash cam manufacturer that runs the National Dash Cam Safety Portal used by many police forces — last May revealed that submissions had increased by 25 per cent since the Highway Code changes of January 2022.

Sadly, as was the case when we last published a guide to reporting footage back in 2018, there is still something of a postcode lottery in operation here, with some forces proactively taking action on videos posted on social media and regularly taking action on submissions, while others lag behind.

> Near Miss of the Day turns 100 — why do we do the feature and what have we learnt from it?

However, it does in many ways feel like things are getting better, and Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Cox of Lincolnshire Police who is the national lead on fatal collision investigation is keen for more of the public's support as 'Active Citizens'.

"We need the public's support as 'Active Citizens' using dash cam or headcam to report road crimes they witness," DCS Cox told road.cc. 

"I believe this 24/7, 365 support in which the public can be anywhere and everywhere will act as a major deterrent to drivers who would otherwise be dangerous but now know their crimes can be captured by fellow citizens.

near miss of the day 837 close pass mercedes driver - screenshot via Das_Pig on Twitter

"As we start a new year, I want to put on record my sincere gratitude to every single person who took the time to submit footage. This life-saving work provides a real service to all road users. I know we (the police) are not always perfect in receiving this footage, acting upon it and updating people who take the time to submit.

"However, we are vastly improved from just a few years ago and we will continue to improve as this approach evolves."

So how can you submit video footage to your police force?

In short, it depends where the incident happened. There are 45 territorial police forces operating across the United Kingdom, and their approaches to video evidence gathered by members of the public vary.

Late in 2017, the four police forces operating in Wales launched Operation Snap, unveiling a website that allows people to submit photographic and video evidence and providing a national standard.

And while many English forces — including Gloucestershire as of December — accept Operation Snap submissions, there is no standard operating across the United Kingdom as a whole. Other English forces accept submissions directly via their website or through Nextbase who have a handy interactive map showing how to report to your force.

Police Scotland last year announced funding for a new National Dashcam Safety Portal, but the yet to be rolled-out scheme has since been under review and could be axed, prompting a campaign from Cycling UK to save it.

Submissions from Scotland presently should go through the Police Scotland Online Reporting Form, similarly in Northern Ireland you can go through the non-emergency online incident reporting.

Near Miss of the Day 813

So, wherever you live, if you are using a camera to film your ride, familiarise yourself with your local police force's policy regarding photographic and video evidence provided by the public. Also bear in mind, too, that the roads you ride on may be part of another force's territory.

While Operation Snap, for example, requires a video and supporting report to be submitted within ten days of the alleged offence, the earlier you submit it, the more time police have to investigate the incident; that is particularly important since any notice of intended prosecution must by law be issued to a registered keeper or owner of a motor vehicle within 14 days of the alleged offence.

The footage will also need to be unedited and may need to show one minute before and one minute after the incident occurs. We say 'may' because this used to be the case, but some of you have suggested it isn't nowadays, worth checking with your police force before you submit anything.

In some cases, they might ask you to remove it from any websites or social media channels you have submitted it to.

Wherever you are, the clearer the footage, the better it will be as evidence of what happened, so keep your camera clean and, of course, charged.

If you regularly watch videos captured by other cyclists on Britain's roads, you'll notice that often they will say the registration of the vehicle involved out loud – a good back-up in case it is difficult to read from the footage.

​Obviously, recording your rides requires camera kit, something one of our readers advises: "Best camera for the job, tends to be a fixed camera to pick up close passes, and a helmet camera for everything else.

> Best cycling cameras

"I ride with a light helmet camera, a GoPro Session Hero 4. Battery lasts about an hour, and SD card can be easily removed and video moved to laptop, using QuickTime to clip clips. These are about £75 used from eBay. When saving a video, use reg number, time, date and location in the filename when you save it. Easier to go back to later."

If you want to film longer rides, you'll need to take battery life into consideration too.

Can you get a witness?

As with any road traffic incident, whether caught on film or not, having independent witnesses is very helpful, and is even required by some forces.

Also, while any cyclist knows that there is nothing like a near miss or collision to get the adrenaline pumping, try to keep calm – we've seen cases where riders have been assaulted by motorists after remonstrating with them, which can also in rare cases lead to police rejecting footage, or even referring the cyclist for prosecution for a public order offence.

Even where a force does accept video evidence, there's the question of whether they will act on it, and, we're aware that some cyclists don't send in footage of road traffic incidents now due to past experience.

Near Miss of the Day 809 (Righttobikeit, Twitter)

That may be down to shortage of staff or other resources, or prioritising other types of crime over what may be seen as 'minor' motoring offences.

At the same time, we've seen police forces that do highlight cycle safety on social media – West Midlands Police and Surrey Police's road policing units, for example – take interest in footage posted there and ensure it is investigated properly.

A future without the postcode lottery?

There is always room for improvement, and Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at Cycling UK told us he hopes one day there will be a solution to the postcode lottery of present.

"Different police forces across the UK seem to apply very different approaches to video evidence submitted by cyclists," he explained to road.cc. "What one force would accept for investigation or prosecution is rejected by another as insufficient evidence or below the threshold for prosecution.

"To resolve this postcode lottery, it would help hugely if forces could collaborate to agree more consistent standards and processes for gathering, investigating, and taking action arising from the submission of video evidence.

"That would reinforce the messages given to irresponsible drivers, provide greater transparency on decisions made, and should reduce danger on our roads by improving enforcement action against careless driving."

Do you use a camera to record your ride and if so what is your experience, if any, of submitting footage to the police? Let us know in the comments below, and remember to state which police force it was. 

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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63 comments

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rogertr7 | 1 year ago
4 likes

I have summited 30 or so near misses to West Midland Police force and never had a reply back from them. I summited about 1 or 2 near misses to Warwickshire police and I had one notice of letter sent to driver. It’s just not very constance and it makes you not want to put information in to the Police as it takes time to fill out the form, and no action taken. Road.cc should do a FOI request to all the Police forces to see how well they act on the evidence summited.

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Awavey replied to rogertr7 | 1 year ago
2 likes

Or simply a trawl of whatdotheyknow.com for others FOI requests for the same info.

For instance as a starter for 10, and of note to Lancashire residents, we can then state Lancashire constabulary published stats between October 2021 to November 2022 are 2674 submissions received, 1550 led to action against the driver of which 1340 NIPs, 210 letters.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to rogertr7 | 1 year ago
0 likes

In a similar boat to you Roger. I only heard from one result and that was because it was potentially going to court (subsequently didn't as they were found guilty in absence). A couple of times I have been asked to resubmit due to a failure or mis-typed plate so I know they are at least reviewed. 

If I was getting feedback, it would keep me willing to submit (or to not submit certain items) and would actually improve chances of actions taken. For example, I live close to the border of Staffs Police. There was a couple of close passes / bad driving which I submitted to WMP without realising how close to the border I was (until I read a story on here which informed me). So did those drivers escape punishment because of that or were they processed by WMP or forwarded on to Staffs. (Although stories on here shows Staffs are worse at Road enforcement then most).

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Poggio2.6 replied to rogertr7 | 1 year ago
3 likes

I submitted a video to West Midlands police too. A car close passed me and the front and back passengers tried to grab me and push me off my bike. The incident was clearly visible in the footage and the registration of the car was clear. I have still not had any response from the police after about 4 or 5 months. What more can we do to stop aggressive drivers who hate cyclists.

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Benthic replied to Poggio2.6 | 4 months ago
2 likes

Poggio2.6 wrote:

I submitted a video to West Midlands police too. A car close passed me and the front and back passengers tried to grab me and push me off my bike. The incident was clearly visible in the footage and the registration of the car was clear. I have still not had any response from the police after about 4 or 5 months. What more can we do to stop aggressive drivers who hate cyclists.

Don't let them join the police.

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wtjs replied to Benthic | 4 months ago
1 like

Don't let them join the police

Sadly, they're already there, along with the other crims like Couzens, Carrick and all the fellow officers who tried to get them off

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wtjs replied to Poggio2.6 | 4 months ago
0 likes

Do you have a link to the video? Or send it in to NMotD?

Edit: just seen that it's a year or more ago

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john_smith replied to Poggio2.6 | 2 months ago
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Maybe you should have started off by saying a group of people had tried to murder you. Then plod might have understood the seriousness of the allegations.

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jmcc500 | 1 year ago
1 like

I have noted that Operation Crackdown in Sussex now asks the submitter to check the following statement:

"I confirm that I understand that dashcam footage falls under the Category of CCTV and as the footage is taken in the public domain, the Domestic Purposes Exemption under the Data Protection Act/UKGDPR does not apply and therefore all users are Data Controllers in their own right. As such you should be informing the public that they are being filmed and should have some form of notification on your mode of transport as you have responsibilities under the Data Protection Act /UKGDPR"

Seems a very odd interpretation of the law, particularly when the submissions are surely subject to an exemption under the 'prevention and detection of crime'? Perhaps someone can enlighten me (and/or Sussex Police!)?

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Hirsute replied to jmcc500 | 1 year ago
1 like

jmcc500 wrote:

"I confirm that I understand that dashcam footage falls under the Category of CCTV and as the footage is taken in the public domain, the Domestic Purposes Exemption under the Data Protection Act/UKGDPR does not apply and therefore all users are Data Controllers in their own right. As such you should be informing the public that they are being filmed and should have some form of notification on your mode of transport as you have responsibilities under the Data Protection Act /UKGDPR"

 

That's come up before with no real answer. As was pointed out back then, the I and You are not consistent and the para says the police should be informing the public.

I think only 2 or 3 forces use this.

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jmcc500 replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
1 like

This is a new addition to Operation Crackdown, which is now using a portal shared with Thames Valley, Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex, so that's 4 now at least

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hawkinspeter replied to jmcc500 | 1 year ago
4 likes

jmcc500 wrote:

I have noted that Operation Crackdown in Sussex now asks the submitter to check the following statement:

"I confirm that I understand that dashcam footage falls under the Category of CCTV and as the footage is taken in the public domain, the Domestic Purposes Exemption under the Data Protection Act/UKGDPR does not apply and therefore all users are Data Controllers in their own right. As such you should be informing the public that they are being filmed and should have some form of notification on your mode of transport as you have responsibilities under the Data Protection Act /UKGDPR"

Seems a very odd interpretation of the law, particularly when the submissions are surely subject to an exemption under the 'prevention and detection of crime'? Perhaps someone can enlighten me (and/or Sussex Police!)?

I'm pretty sure that's a bunch of horseshit.

As a private individual, you're fine taking video of public places without any notices (similar to how you can use your phone to take videos in public areas too) as GDPR does not cover that. You'd need to be more careful if you're acting in a professional capacity such as a taxi driver or in a fleet vehicle - that would count as a business purpose and is covered by GDPR, so you'd need to inform customers/employees that they're being taped and for what purpose.

There's the GDPR exemptions for crime prevention/detection, but again, GDPR does not come into play for a private individual, so dash-cams on private vehicles/handlebars/helmets are absolutely fine.

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HoarseMann replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
4 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

I'm pretty sure that's a bunch of horseshit.

Agree.

You are perfectly entitled to photograph/video anyone, without their consent, in any public space in the UK. There are certain restrictions around sensitive sites which might come under prevention of terrorism, but for the general public driving about with a dashcam/bikecam there are no laws against it, the GDPR does not apply and that police statement is incorrect.

The main reason the GDPR doesn't apply is because you are videoing what you can see with your own eyes, in a public space: it is not surveillance. A 3rd party can have no expectation of privacy in this environment.

Where things get a bit tricky, is if you have a 'parking mode' (sentry mode on Teslas), then you have turned your vehicle into a mobile CCTV station that can caputre images when you are not present. This constitues surveillance and the GDPR will apply if the level of surveillance is beyond what could reasonably be considered necessary to protect household property. There is no fixed rule about what would be reasonable household use, it would be determined by a court if it came to it. So in this case, the GDPR *might* apply.

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wtjs replied to jmcc500 | 1 year ago
0 likes

"I confirm that I understand that dashcam footage falls under the Category of CCTV and as the footage is taken in the public domain, the Domestic Purposes Exemption under the Data Protection Act/UKGDPR does not apply and therefore all users are Data Controllers in their own right. As such you should be informing the public that they are being filmed and should have some form of notification on your mode of transport as you have responsibilities under the Data Protection Act /UKGDPR"

Sussex has been taking dodging lessons from the Master Idlers at Lancashire Constabulary. I have commented on this nonsense before, several times. This identical tripe has been on OpSnapLancs for almost a year:

I confirm that I understand that dashcam footage falls under the Category of CCTV and as the footage is taken in the public domain, the Domestic Purposes Exemption under the Data Protection Act/UKGDPR does not apply and therefore all users are Data Controllers in their own right. As such you should be informing the public that they are being filmed and should have some form of notification on your mode of transport as you have responsibilities under the Data Protection Act /UKGDPR 

The dodge is that they can later claim you lied when you accepted the statement- which you have to do. It just gives them another reason to bin your report. My solution is to declare the opposite in my statement, along with the true comment that I have never seen any such notification on any motorised vehicle or bike- I certainly don't have one on the bike, or stuck on my legs! (sometimes I film when walking along beside the road)

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hawkinspeter replied to wtjs | 1 year ago
0 likes

wtjs wrote:

My solution is to declare the opposite in my statement, along with the true comment that I have never seen any such notification on any motorised vehicle or bike- I certainly don't have one on the bike, or stuck on my legs! (sometimes I film when walking along beside the road)

Taxis usually have a notice inside that they're recording and possibly buses too.

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Awavey replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
0 likes

Use a passpixi ? Though frankly if that became a condition I'd actually never submit any video to the police ever again.

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Tom_77 replied to jmcc500 | 1 year ago
1 like

The situation regarding CCTV isn't very clear. The ICO says:

Quote:

The use of recording equipment, such as CCTV or smart door bells, to capture video or sound recordings outside the user’s property boundary is not a breach of data protection law.

However the ECJ ruled the opposite:

Quote:

The Court concluded that personal data collected from a public space by a home CCTV system (e.g. from the road outside the home) does not qualify for the domestic purpose exemption.

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hawkinspeter replied to Tom_77 | 1 year ago
0 likes

Tom_77 wrote:

The situation regarding CCTV isn't very clear. The ICO says:

Quote:

The use of recording equipment, such as CCTV or smart door bells, to capture video or sound recordings outside the user’s property boundary is not a breach of data protection law.

However the ECJ ruled the opposite:

Quote:

The Court concluded that personal data collected from a public space by a home CCTV system (e.g. from the road outside the home) does not qualify for the domestic purpose exemption.

I believe the ECJ ruling is from before the GDPR, so I'd go along with the ICO's interpretation as that appears to be current. Further down the ICO's page there's also this section: 

Quote:

What are the rules about domestic CCTV?

Data protection law says that people who capture images or audio recordings from outside their property boundary using a fixed camera, such as a CCTV camera or smart doorbell, should:

  • tell people that they are using recording equipment;
  • in most circumstances, provide some of the recording if asked by a person whose images have been captured;
  • regularly or automatically delete footage;
  • in most circumstances, delete recordings of people if they ask; and
  • stop recording a person if they object to being recorded, but only if it is possible to do so. For example, if they can point the camera in a different direction but still use it for the same purposes, eg keeping their property safe.

These rules only apply to fixed cameras. They do not cover roaming cameras, such as drones or dashboard cameras (dashcams).

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MichaelWinnerRIP replied to jmcc500 | 2 months ago
1 like

I'm not sure Sussex Police is correct. This subject was covered recently by the Black Belt Barrister on YouTube and he was clear that, in a public place, or in a place to which the public has access, such as a car park, there is a clear right to film or take a still photograph. It is not closed circuit and there is no need to advise anybody that a situation is or has been recorded.

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wtjs replied to MichaelWinnerRIP | 2 months ago
2 likes

I'm not sure Sussex Police is correct

Doesn't stop LancsFilth trying to insist that you have to carry a warning 'on your mode of transport' that you're toting a camera. Look up 'OpSnap Lancashire' and start the reporting process, and you'll see...

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IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
4 likes

With regard to when to submit, I think there are three issues:

1. In my mind, quite a few cases deserve a letter, in principle to get the intelligence on file that a driver is a problem. A standard letter is a low cost, low time action. However, it seems that the police won't send them unless in principle they could secure a court conviction so apply extremely high standards before they will consider any action.

2. Although an event qualifies as a motoring offence and often could be dealt with by FPN or offer of a course, the police seem overly bothered by the small percentage of motorists who seek to challenge an FPN. (I might be wrong and there is some reason why the police won't use FPNs for video submissions?).

3. As a helpful citizen trying to help make the country a safer place, I have to accept that drowning the police in minor infractions when they are understaffed and failing in dealing with far more serious crimes is unhelpful. I therefore think we have to set a high bar for submissions.

I believe the solution is to have a national portal that deals with video submissions of any crime to an agreed standard who then may need to pass this on to local police forces for enforcement and that enforcement can be measured by force and action taken against forces who do not back up the national standards.

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
1 like

I think this is a great idea. I really agree with point 1 you make especially. I see no reason a central portal shouldn't deal with advisory letters, and think there could be significant benefit of sending letters along the lines of 'on [day] and at [location] you passed a more vulnerable road user at a distance that may have been unsafe, and was considered unsafe by that road user. Please be advised that safe passing distances are detailed in the highway code and are..... Please consider overtaking other road users, especially those who are more vulnerable such as cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians with greater care (i.e. with a larger passing) in future.'

There's no suggestion at that stage that a crime has been committed, so I don't see any reason for a police service to be involved.

I'm going to write to my MP to suggest it.

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HoarseMann replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
0 likes

The answer to your issue number 2, is because their guidelines actually forbid them from issuing a FPN based on 3rd party submitted video footage:

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Secret_squirrel replied to HoarseMann | 1 year ago
0 likes

HoarseMann wrote:

The answer to your issue number 2, is because their guidelines actually forbid them from issuing a FPN based on 3rd party submitted video footage:

Thats not my read of that paragraph.  My interpretation of that paragraph is in the abscence of independent evidence (like footage) they wont issue a FPN - which is fair enough.  Based on your interpretation people like Mikey wouldnt have had half their FPN's issued.

Now if you are saying some forces are intepreting things your way (wtjs incoming :D) thats probably fairer than blanket saying they all do.

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HoarseMann replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
1 like

It's the 'no public complaint' bit that is the problem. If you are a 3rd party reporting an incident, that is a public complaint. It's only guidance, so some forces can ignore it and take a different view, but I know for sure (because they told me on the phone) that Thames Valley follow this guidance and will not consider issuing FPN's for 3rd party video submissions.

Additionally, if you are a cyclist being close passed, I'd class you as a victim of a road crime. So the 'no victims' caveat applies too.

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Rendel Harris replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
2 likes

I believe you are correct, the paragraph means they won't give out FPNs on word-of-mouth evidence (which seems perfectly reasonable). When a video has been submitted and viewed by the police then that presumably becomes one of the "situations that are observed by police officers" and so they can proceed on that basis. I have certainly had a significant number of fine + points outcomes based on my videos.

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HoarseMann replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
0 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

I have certainly had a significant number of fine + points outcomes based on my videos.

Were these FPN's or a court summons?

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Rendel Harris replied to HoarseMann | 1 year ago
0 likes

HoarseMann wrote:

 

Were these FPN's or a court summons?

Nearly all FPNs, the only times I've been to court (apart from one) were when the driver chose to contest the FPN. Having said that I haven't heard of (with the caveat that the Met will do their best not to tell you what's going on) any FPNs for a while though still had quite a number of courses, so I don't know if they've modified their policy.

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HoarseMann replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
0 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

HoarseMann wrote:

 

Were these FPN's or a court summons?

Nearly all FPNs, the only times I've been to court (apart from one) were when the driver chose to contest the FPN. Having said that I haven't heard of (with the caveat that the Met will do their best not to tell you what's going on) any FPNs for a while though still had quite a number of courses, so I don't know if they've modified their policy.

Interesting if the MET are choosing to interpret this guidance differently to TVP. Shows it can be done.

I didn't have to attend court for the incident I submitted. It was a court summons not a FPN, but as the driver pleaded guilty prior to the hearing, no witnesses were required and it was just a matter of sentencing for the magistrate.

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HoarseMann replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
0 likes

CyclingMikey reports drivers mainly for mobile phone use. That is a different FPN to the Careless Driving FPN, so these guidelines don't apply. It's also a lot easier to prove mobile phone use than careless driving.

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