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Using a mobile while driving – what does the law say?
The law says that when you are driving, you are not allowed to use any hand held device which performs an ‘interactive communication function by receiving and transmitting data’. This includes your mobile phone.
There are two exceptions to this rule. Firstly, you can use two-way radios. Secondly, you can use your mobile to call 999 or 112 while driving, if it is not safe or practicable to pull over.
However, this area of the law is complicated. The legislation is still evolving, and some matters are not entirely black and white. This can cause confusion for motorists. Many people are unsure what is, and is not, allowed.
What you need to know
In short, you cannot use a device if it must be held in your hand, even just for a brief moment. This means you cannot pick up a ringing phone, answer it and wedge it between your ear and shoulder while driving.
The definition of ‘driving’ is a grey area. Generally, if you are sat in the driver’s seat with the engine running, you are deemed to be driving. Even if you are parked or sat stationary in traffic. If there is any uncertainty over whether you were technically driving, it will be up to the court to decide.
Additionally, you cannot use a mobile phone if you are supervising a learner driver. If you are found guilty of any of the above, you will be handed six penalty points and a £200 fine.
Nevertheless, you can use your device in an entirely hands-free fashion. For example, you might have a Bluetooth headset, use voice command, or have your mobile synced to your vehicle’s communication system. All these things are permitted.
Also, you can use the maps on your phone while driving, so long as you are not holding the device. For example, your phone could be contained within a cradle. So long as this is not blocking your view of the road, you are acting within the rules.
If you are using your mobile hands-free, you must still drive with due care and attention. If you have an accident because you are distracted by a hands-free device, you could be charged with another offence, such as careless or dangerous driving.
Contact us now
Have you been caught using your mobile while driving? Contact our motoring defence lawyers for expert legal advice.
You can call us on 0333 009 6275. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
When you are safely parked or you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop
No the law still applies and the same applies if you’re stood in queuing traffic. You are not even allowed to use the mobile phone as a passenger and you are supervising a learner driver.