New mobile phone laws for drivers – here’s what you need to know
The UK Government has announced further changes to rules concerning the use of handheld mobile phones and other interactive communication devices whilst driving. Our consultant Katie Pritchard looks at this important change.
Using a handheld mobile device* whilst driving has been an offence since December 2003. The Government changes have widened the scope of offences to include all interactive communication devices** when driving from 25th March 2022, and clarifies that using a handheld device is prohibited at traffic lights and in traffic queues.
*A handheld mobile device is any mobile device that is held for all or part of the duration of the activity.
**Interactive communication devices perform similar functions to mobile phones, e.g. sending and receiving spoken or written messages.
The changes extend the list of prohibited activities to include taking photos and searching for music. Existing offences include:
- unlocking the handheld device;
- checking the time;
- checking notifications;
- accessing the Internet;
- sending media;
- using the camera or recording functions; and
- making or accepting a telephone call.
Drivers caught in breach of these rules will face a £200 fixed penalty and 6 points on their licence.
Employers may be prosecuted if they encourage or knowingly fail to stop employees using handheld mobile devices or interactive communication devices whilst driving.
Drivers are still allowed to make contactless payments for goods and services when the vehicle is stationary at drive-through restaurants and road tolls.
So what if you need to use a handheld mobile device while driving? The Government recommends you:
- Stop driving
- Park safely with the handbrake on
- Switch off the vehicle’s engine
- From 25th March 2022, it is an offence to use any interactive communication device whilst driving.
- Handheld mobile devices must not be used at traffic lights or in traffic.
- Drivers may make contactless payments for goods and services while the vehicle is stationary at drive-through restaurants and road tolls.
For more information on using handheld mobile devices whilst driving, the new update The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2022 is available to read on the Legislation Update Service.