The law on using your phone whilst driving

It is surprising to many motorists that the first law, regarding mobile phones and driving, came into force in December 2003. The penalty, at the time, was a £30 fine.

With the increasing popularity of the mobile phone the law soon required updating, and in 2007 the fine was increased to £100 and three penalty points.

This change acted as a deterrent initially, however, the number of offenders steadily increased. So, on 1 March 2017, the penalties were doubled, to £200 and six penalty points.

Some motorists are unsure when, or if, a mobile can be used. So, here is a brief breakdown of the law as it stands:

If your phone is fully hands-free you can use it, but you are not allowed to handle it at any time. So ensure that it is set up before you start your journey. It is important to note that the police believe you are distracted while using a hand-free device; they still have the power to stop you.

If you are using your phone as a sat-nav, you cannot hold it. Your phone must be fixed to the dashboard or windscreen and in clear view.

Many drivers believe they can use their phones when the car is stopped in traffic. This is not the case; any time the car engine is running it is illegal to use a mobile phone. You can use your phone when your car is safely parked, but not at other times.

The only exception to the above is in the case of an emergency. You can call 999 while driving, if it is unsafe to stop.

So, as you can see, you can only use your mobile phone in extreme circumstances. At all other times, keep it out of sight and don’t be tempted to check it!            

 


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