New laws now in force over the use of mobile phones while driving

Drivers need to be aware that from today (March 25), the law around using your mobile phone while driving is changing.

By Ian Hirst
Friday, 25th March 2022, 9:16 am
Updated Friday, 25th March 2022, 9:18 am

From today (25 March 2022), motorists are breaking the law if they use a handheld mobile phone behind the wheel for any use, including to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games – as the government closes a loophole previously exploited by dangerous drivers to escape conviction.

Anyone caught using their handheld device while driving could face a fine of up to £1,000 as well as six points on their licence or a full driving ban.

Edmund King AA president said: "The AA has long campaigned to make handheld mobile phone use while driving as socially unacceptable as drink driving and we warmly welcome the new law. This is a much-needed toughening of the rules to help make our roads safer.

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New laws over the use of mobile phones

Those who believe they can still play with their phone because it’s in a cradle must think again – they leave themselves open to prosecution for either careless or dangerous driving.

The best thing to do is to convert your glovebox into a phone box. We all need to keep our hands on the wheel and our eyes on the road.

It is already illegal to use a hand-held device to make phone calls and send messages, except in an emergency, but from today “using” a hand-held device will be expanded to cover:

• Illuminating the screen

• Checking the time

• Checking notifications

• Unlocking the device

• Making, receiving or rejecting a telephone or internet-based call

• Sending, receiving or uploading oral or written content

• Sending , receiving or uploading a photo or video

• Utilising camera, video or sound recording

• Drafting any text

• Accessing any stored data such as documents, books, audio files, photos, videos, films, playlists, notes or messages

• Accessing an app

• Accessing the internet

There is an exemption which allows drivers to use a mobile to make a contactless payment while the vehicle is stationary at places such as drive-through restaurants and car parks. Using a mobile phone for navigation will continue to be legal, as long as it is kept in a cradle and not in the driver’s hand.