Being on your phone all the time is a habit we’re all better off without – but to do whilst driving can produce serious consequences.
Below is a brief introduction to the laws regarding drivers and their mobile phones – learning them will be key to avoiding fines and points on your license!
What does the Law Say?
Using a handheld mobile phone or electronic device whilst driving, or while stopping with the engine on, has been declared illegal since 2003. And this isn’t limited to calls – it includes reading/writing texts, checking social media, even following a map. It is also illegal to use handheld microphones or to hold your phone out on loudspeaker.
You can use your phone if you’re
- Parked up safely with the engine off
- You need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency
What about Hands-Free?
Using a hands-free set (where your phone is in a cradle, or you are using earphones/a Bluetooth connection) is not illegal. However, if it distracts you and affects your ability to drive safely, you can face prosecution.
The penalty for using handheld mobile devices while driving is a fine of £200 and six penalty points. New drivers, beware – gaining 6 points within the first two years of you passing your test, will result in you losing your license!
Mounting your device
A common mistake is to fix devices onto the windscreen, or to place a phone holder near the windscreen wipers. This is considered an offence and can result in both a £100 fine and 3 points on your license.
The guidelines in Great Britain are as follows; if you use a suction-mounted cradle that rises more than 4cm into the secondary (blue) wiper clearance zone, or more than 1cm into the primary (red) zone, you would have failed your MOT for having committed a serious traffic offence (Road Traffic Act 1988).
In short – don’t place or fix anything on your windscreen that will limit your view of the road ahead!