We all know that it’s illegal (and dangerous) to use a hand-held phone while driving (or riding a motorcycle) – in fact, using a hand-held mobile phone while driving any vehicle has been illegal since 2003. But did you also know that the rules are the same if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic? Or that it’s also illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver?
The law states that you must stay in full control of your vehicle at all times, and the police can stop you if they think you’re not in control because you’re distracted. This can include being distracted by using things like your satnav or car radio. You can also be stopped if you’re seen eating or drinking while driving.
Let’s assume you’re the driver, in which case, you can only use your phone in a vehicle if you either need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop, or you are safely parked
Current punishments for being caught include three penalty points on your licence and a fine of £100, but you could also be taken to court and could be disqualified from driving with a maximum fine of £1000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of £2500.
However, from 1 March the fixed penalty for the offence will increase from three to six for all drivers and the fine will double to £200.
Maybe a brand new Vauxhall with Bluetooth and built-in satnav would be a safer alternative…