Laws on mobile phone use whilst driving to be strengthened

Using phone whilst driving
Legally reviewed by: Kevin Waddingham In: Motoring Offences

The Government are set to make handheld mobile phone use whilst driving illegal in a bid to cut down on the number of accidents involving distracted drivers.

Under the current rules, it is illegal to text or make a phone call in a non-emergency situation whilst driving a vehicle.

However, laws will go a step further next year and ban drivers from any use of their phone whilst driving, adding tasks including taking photos or videos, scrolling through playlists or playing games to the existing laws.

Anyone caught using their handheld device whilst driving will face a £200 penalty notice and receive six points on their licence.

There will only be an exemption for drivers making a contactless payment using their mobile phones while stationary to ensure the law keeps pace with technology.

This exemption will cover, for example, places like a drive-through restaurant or a road toll, and will only apply when payment is being made with a card reader. It will not allow motorists to make general online payments while driving.

The Government will also update the Highway Code to explain the new measures focusing on the fact that being stationary in traffic counts as driving, making it clear that handheld mobile phone use at traffic lights or in motorway jams is illegal.

Motorists will still be able to continue using devices “hands-free” while driving, such as a sat-nav, if it’s secured in a cradle. However, police can still charge drivers using these items with an offence, if they find them not to be in proper control of their vehicle.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Too many deaths and injuries occur whilst mobile phones are being held.

“By making it easier to prosecute people illegally using their phone at the wheel, we are ensuring the law is brought into the 21st century while further protecting all road users.”

If you’ve been charged with a driving offence, get in touch with our dedicated motoring offence solicitors, who have a proven track record of protecting the driving licences of many British motorists. We’ll do everything we can to clear you of wrongdoing or minimise action against you.

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All advice is correct at time of publication.