Using a mobile phone whilst driving has been an offence for some years. Anyone caught could expect to receive a fine and six penalty points on their licence as a minimum.
However, the old law only prohibited using a mobile phone if it was used for calls or other interactive communications whilst holding the phone. It did not prohibit actions such as taking a video whilst driving (although this could still be a unlawful if it caused the driver to drive carelessly or dangerously)
New regulations have been introduced to tighten the rules to restrict the handheld use of phones whilst driving regardless of whether the use involves interactive communication.
What has changed?
As of the 25th March 2022, the use of a handheld mobile phone device whilst driving a motor vehicle will be prohibited in almost all circumstances. Motorists will no longer be permitted to take photos, scroll through playlists or play games whilst driving. This includes whilst a vehicle is stationary at traffic lights or in traffic queues.
Other prohibited activities include but are not limited to the following: –
- checking the time.
- illuminating the screen.
- checking social media and/or any other notifications.
- unlocking a mobile phone device.
The penalty for anybody breaking the law will be a £200 fine and 6 penalty points or a discretionary disqualification together with a maximum £1,000 fine at court.
Exemptions to the new law are to include those motorists making contactless payments for goods or services with their mobile device whilst stationary but only in certain situations such as drive through restaurants, or a toll gate pay point where a card reader is available. Motorists will also be permitted to use hands free devices such as satellite navigation systems whilst their mobile phone is within a cradle as long as it does not cause a decline within the level of driving and does not affect the competency of the driver.
The Highway code will also be revised to make it clear that being in stationary traffic counts as driving and handheld mobile phone use in traffic or in motorway queues will be illegal except in very limited circumstances.
If you need advice or are facing charges of using your mobile phone while driving, please contact Gwyndaf Pari on 01492 532385 or by emailing email@example.com