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What’s the new law on mobile phone use whilst driving?

Friday, 10 March 2017 GMT
Author: Staveley Head

Do you use your mobile phone hands-free to navigate to new places? Are you aware of the new penalties for being caught using a mobile phone whilst driving? Previous studies have found that up to 11 million drivers have admitted to using their mobile phone whilst driving.

Let’s keep you and other road users safe by keeping you up to date on the new penalties for mobile phone use whilst driving. 

Mobile phone use in vehicles

(Source)

What are the potential penalties?

Since 2003 it has been illegal to drive whilst using a handheld mobile phone. On 1st March 2017, the penalty for being caught using your mobile phone whilst driving has increased to 6 penalty points and a £200 fine.

It doesn’t stop there because depending on the circumstance drivers could suffer further penalties. Here are some examples:

  • A novice driver in their first 2 years of driving can lose their full UK licence
  • Bus and truck drivers can be fined up to £2500 and potentially disqualified
  • Drivers found guilty of seriously injuring or killing someone as a result can face charges such as death by dangerous driving and even a prison sentence 

What happens to drivers?

Research has identified that a driver’s awareness and reaction times are reduced when using a hands-free or handheld mobile phone whilst driving. Drivers who use a hand-held or hands-free mobile are:

  • Four times more likely to be involved in a crash
  • Less likely to see road signs
  • More likely to take longer to brake and stop
  • Less aware of the traffic and pedestrians around them 

When can you use your mobile phone in your vehicle?

The law allows you to be able to use your mobile phone hands-free; whether this is for a phone call or to use for navigation.

However, if you do become distracted by your hands-free device and get caught by the police there is still the possibility of you being prosecuted. It’s better to be safe than sorry by:

Not using your mobile phone whilst stationary in traffic waiting for traffic lights or stuck in a queue as this can still be considered to be driving Not interacting with, or use of your mobile phone to:

  • Make calls
  • Send or read texts
  • Setting or adjusting your sat nav
  • Use of social media
  • Taking photos/videos
  • Selecting music
  • Adjusting your settings
  • Bluetooth use
  • Checking your clock on screen
  • Discussing jobs if you drive for your profession and using speakerphone mode
  • Removing the temptation to use your mobile phone by putting it in your pocket or glove compartment
  • Only using your hands-free in a safe and responsible manner 

How safe a driver are you?

Put yourself to the test and take our confessions of the road quiz to find out how safe a driver you are.

 

Do you have an opinion on the change in law? Why not share your thoughts on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

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