From the 1st March 2017, tougher penalties were introduced for those people caught using their mobile phone behind the wheel. Drivers will now face at least 6 points and a £200 fine if they are found to be driving while using their phone, and they will no longer have the option to take a driver awareness course instead of receiving the points.
With the laws on driving changing so regularly, many struggle to keep up with what they can or can't do behind the wheel - so in light of the new law, we have broken down exactly when you can and can't use your mobile phone while driving.
CAN I USE MY MOBILE PHONE WHEN I'M IN TRAFFIC, OR STOPPED AT TRAFFIC LIGHTS?
No. The law still applies even if you are queuing in traffic or stopped at traffic lights.
CAN I USE MY MOBILE PHONE IF I PULL OVER?
Yes and no. The law also applies if you are parked up, but with your car engine running. If you park up and turn your car engine off, then you are free to use your mobile phone.
WHAT IF IT'S AN EMERGENCY?
Yes. If you need to call 999 in an emergency and it is unpractical or unsafe to stop, then you can use your mobile phone.
CAN I USE MY PHONE AS SAT NAV?
Yes, but only under the following conditions:
- It is secured correctly in a holder.
- You cannot re-programme or touch the device while driving
MY PHONE IS SECURED IN A HOLDER, I CAN TOUCH IT TO CHANGE MY MUSIC RIGHT?
No. You cannot touch any buttons on your phone while driving.
CAN I USE MY PHONE IN HANDS-FREE MODE WHILE DRIVING?
Yes, however you cannot touch any button on your phone while driving. The AA recommends that if you need to take a call while driving, that you pull over or leave it to go to voicemail even if you have a hands-free phone. It is important to note that if the Police believe that you are not in control of your vehicle when using hands-free, then they can fine you £200 and give you 6 points.
BUT, WHAT IF MY BOSS NEEDS TO SPEAK TO ME WHILE I'M DRIVING?
If you are caught on your phone while driving, it is your fault. However, your employer can be prosecuted if they cause or permit you to use your phone while driving. This includes, if they ask you to make or receive calls while driving or if you're driving dangerously because you're using a phone that they installed into your car.
WHY HAVE PENALTIES TOUGHENED ON THE USE OF MOBILE PHONES WHILE DRIVING?
It has been shown that texting while driving reduces your reaction time by 35%, compared to 12% for alcohol and 21% for drugs, yet an astonishing 77% of young adults consider they can safely text and drive at the same time.
Our infographic below reflects a survey done by the RAC in relation to mobile phone usage across the UK in 2016: