New legislation for using your mobile phone while driving

On March 1st 2017, a new law for using your mobile phone while driving came into place. In this guide, we explain the new rules.

Whilst using a hand-held device while driving has been illegal since 2003, thousands of drivers are still caught out each year.

Now, if you’re caught using your mobile phone while driving, you can receive penalty points and a fine.

Did you know?

Drivers using their mobile phones while driving are four times more likely to crash their vehicle and injure or kill themselves, or other people.

What constitutes using a mobile phone while driving?

All mobile phone use applies, unless you’re using a hands-free device – however, please note that this is not encouraged

What counts as a hands-free device?

  • A Bluetooth headset
  • Voice command
  • A dashboard holder

Remember: When using a hands-free device, you must remain in control of your vehicle at all times, or risk being stopped by the police.

Did you know?

The mental distraction and divided attention is what causes problems, so using a hands-free device doesn’t really reduce the risks.

What about if you’ve stopped at traffic lights, or you’re queuing in traffic? The law still applies in both of these cases, and also if you’re supervising a learner driver.

So when can you use your mobile phone while behind the wheel?

  • When your vehicle is safely parked
  • When you need to call 999/112 in an emergency and it’s impractical/unsafe to stop

What's the penalty for using a mobile phone while driving?

There are serious consequences if you’re caught using your mobile phone while driving – you can get:

  • Six penalty points
  • A £200 fine – this is double the previous charge

You can also be taken to court if the police feel there has been a particularly extreme example of using a mobile phone while driving, where:

  • You could be banned from driving
  • You could get a maximum fine of £1,000 (£2,500 if you’re driving a lorry or bus)

New driver? If you get six penalty points in the first two years after passing your test, you will lose your licence.

Even if you’re a more experienced driver, you could lose your licence if you receive 12 points in a three-year period – this is just two incidents of not abiding by the new law.

Will it affect my insurance premium if I get caught?

As with any type of motoring conviction, insurers will consider you a greater risk should you receive penalty points for using your mobile phone while driving.

This could mean you receive a higher quote for your car insurance.

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