Emailing with mobile phone while using stop start technology

I am having a disagreement with someone who was driving a car and using their phone while I was a passenger. We were stopped in traffic (not a long time) and the car had the handbrake on, gear in neutral and car engine off. The engine was off because of the automatic stop start technology and not because the ignition had been turned off. The driver checked their email and a discussion ensued about whether they were in control of the car or not. I know using phones in traffic is not allowed, and that drivers should be 'parked' if using their phone but is the above classed as being parked or not?

Asked on 3 October 2015 by matthewd

Answered by Honest John
No. He'd get done for that, even though, with the proliferation of touchscreen communication devices, the law about using a hand held mobile phone is outdated. If the phone was held in a cradle, what the driver did would not have been illegal because he was not using a 'hand held' mobile phone.
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