Changes to Laws For Using Your Phone Whilst Driving

These days, our entire lives are contained in the palm of our hands, within the vessel of our mobile phones. Most of us are on our devices from the very minute we wake until the very end of the day. But as of the 25th of March, laws regarding mobile phones when driving have changed. Here are the key things to know about these important changes.

Now, it's illegal to use a handheld mobile phone for nearly any purpose when driving. The few exceptions are using your phone in a genuine emergency and for contactless payments only if your car is stationary and you're receiving goods straight away (e.g., drive-through restaurant or paying for parking). Also, you can still use your mobile as a sat-nav.

What Do The New Laws Cover?

The new legislation covers' any device capable of interactive communication, even if that functionality isn't enabled at the time' – this does include devices in 'airplane' mode. The phone uses that are now illegal whilst driving:

 

  • Illuminating the screen
  • Checking the time/notifications
  • Unlocking the device
  • Making, receiving, or rejecting a call
  • Sending, receiving, or uploading written, oral or multimedia content
  • Using a camera, video, or sound recording
  • Drafting a text
  • Accessing any stored data, an app, or the internet

 

The change has closed a previous loophole that allowed drivers to avoid prosecution when using their mobile phone other than for calls and texting, such as to watch videos or take photos.

What Are The Penalties?

So, what's the penalty? Handling a mobile phone at the wheel, no matter the reason, could result in a fine of up to £200 and six points on your licence. This could result in a driver being banned if they're caught twice within a three-year period or if they've held their licence for under two years.

 

Overall, as much as we are on our mobile phones all the time, they are a distraction. Therefore, it is important to avoid going on them when driving, not only to avoid penalties but for everyone's safety.

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