It has certainly been a long time coming, but as of 1st March 2017 it is now illegal to use a mobile phone when driving a car or riding a motorbike and the implications of ignoring this new law can be extremely severe.

Unfortunately, mobile phones have been the largest cause of road casualties over the last two years. Studies completed by the government show that the use of a mobile phone increase the chances of a fatal incident significantly.

If you are caught using a mobile phone when driving a car or riding a motorbike you will receive the following punishments as standard:

  • 6 penalty points on your licence
  • On the spot £200 (minimum) fine for using your mobile phone whilst driving

This new law also applies to drivers of public transport vehicles such as busses and large goods vehicles. However, the maximum fine is significantly increased from a minimum of £200 to £2500.

If you are found guilty of using a mobile phone when driving, you may even face a court appearance and could be disqualified from driving completely.

Man Driving and Using Mobile Phone

When Can You Use a Mobile?

The simple answer to this question is never, especially when you are behind the wheel of a car. However, there are two specific scenarios that condone the use of a mobile phone when you are the driver of a vehicle. These are as follows:

Emergency situations. In need of a call to 999 or 112 and if you are in an unsafe or impractical position stop
Are safely parked with the engine switched off

In addition to this new law – the government has also stressed that this also applies to PDA’s and hand-held devices when driving instructors are supervising a learner driver or rider. The law has been put into place to prevent the number of casualties and fatalities on the roads in the UK, insisting that drivers must remain in full control of their vehicles.

Police now have the right to stop you in your vehicle if they believe that a distraction in your vehicle is causing you to lose control. This may include in car devices such as car radios and satellite navigation systems.

Advice for Mobile Phones in the Car

Of course, with this new law coming into place – everyone here at driveJohnson’s encourages road users to stay safe and prevent the use of a mobile whilst driving. To help you, and prevent you from gaining unnecessary points and fines, we have created this list of ideas that you can use immediately when driving.

Keep your mobile phone on silent and place it in the glove box to prevent distractions.

  • If you want to use a Sat-Nav or mobile device for directions you must set it up before you begin your journey. Keys cannot be in the ignition and the engine must be switched off.
  • If you listen to music through a Bluetooth system, create a playlist before you start driving and set it to shuffle.
  • If you absolutely need to use your mobile phone – ensure that you are safely parked and the engine is switched off.
  • If you are found guilty of death by dangerous driving, you are now eligible for life imprisonment – not 14-years.

What You Cannot Do

There are many things that road users do on a daily basis with their mobiles when driving. Here is a list of things that you must avoid in order to prevent a fine and point on your licence.

  • Cannot use headphones or hands-free systems
  • Cannot use loudspeaker from your phone
  • Cannot move or touch your phone whilst the engine is on
  • If you call someone and they are driving you must hang up immediately
  • If you are a passenger in a car and the driver is using a mobile phone, take it from them and remind them of the potential implications
  • If you are an employer and you force your staff into using a mobile phone, it can result in imprisonment for you, large company fines and your business may even be suspended from operation

If you are supervising a learner driver with driving lessons in London, as the instructor you can no longer use your phone for examples when in motion. The vehicle must be safely parked with the ignition off.