Mobile phones are a ‘must have’ for many people – responding to that ping of a text, someone phoning or checking social media is very hard to ignore. However, they must be ignored when you are driving as the risks and penalties are not worth it.
In March 2017, new UK laws were introduced concerning mobile phones and driving.
Using a mobile phone while driving in the UK has been illegal since 2003, however studies show that around one in five UK drivers still use their phones behind the wheel.
What does the Law say?
Very simply, “It’s illegal to hold a phone or sat nav while driving or riding a motorcycle.”
If you need to use your mobile phone while driving it must be hands-free. According to gov.co.uk these can be:
> a bluetooth headset
> voice command
> a dashboard holder or mat
> a windscreen mount
> a built-in sat nav
Ensure that your windscreen or dashboard mount doesn’t block your view of the road or traffic ahead.
The law doesn’t change when you stop in traffic either, using your mobile phone at any point whilst driving is illegal. The only time you can hold your mobile is when you are parked safely.
What if it’s an Emergency?
If it is unsafe or impractical for you to stop and you are in an emergency situation then you are able to dial 999 or 112.
Can I use my phone as a Sat Nav while driving?
Yes, but you need to ensure that it is used hands-free. Ideally you need to get a windscreen or dashboard mount and make sure that it doesn’t obscure your view. Set your destination before you set off and don’t try to update it or touch it whilst you are driving.
What are the Penalties?
The penalties can be very severe.
Gov.uk clearly sets out the risks if caught using a hand-held phone when driving or if deemed to have an obscured view of the road and traffic or not in full control of your vehicle. This could be 3 points on your licence, a maximum £1,000 fine and in some cases a ban.
If you passed your driving test in the last 2 years, then you will lose you licence. If that happens you would have to go through the whole test process again including applying and paying for a new provisional licence and then passing both your theory and practical parts of the driving or riding test again.
Leave your phone in your bag of glove box and ignore it while you’re driving or pull over and park up if you need to use it.
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