What are the rules about using a mobile device

  • Can you use them?
  • What about hands-free?
  • Are there any exceptions?
  • What’s the penalty?

On the 25th of March 2022, tougher laws concerning the use of mobile devices such as phones, tablets and even sat-nav devices, were introduced by the Department of Transport, with those breaking the new sanctions liable to be fined as much as £1,000!

Can you use a mobile device while you’re driving?

According to the government website – – it’s now illegal to hold and use a phone, sat nav, tablet, or any device that can send or receive data, while driving or riding a motorcycle, irrespective of whether it’s on or offline. This means you must not use a device in your hand to text, make calls, take photos or videos, or to browse the internet.

It’s also important to note that the law still applies if you’re stopped at traffic lights or a junction, stuck in queuing traffic, driving a car that is equipped with a start/stop function that turns off the engine when you stop moving, and even if you’re holding or using a device that’s offline or in-flight mode. The law is also applicable if you are supervising a learner driver.

What about using these devices on hands-free?

These changes still allow you use mobile devices, but only with hands-free operation, and provided you do not hold them at any time during their usage. Hands-free access means using, for example, a built-in sat nav system, Bluetooth headset, voice activated command system, a dashboard holder/mat, or a windscreen mount, but the device must not block your view of the road and traffic ahead.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes, you can use a device held in your hand if you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency, but only if it’s unsafe or impractical to stop to make the call.

Other exceptions include if you’re making a contactless payment in a vehicle that is not moving, for example, at a drive-thru restaurant or road toll booth/station, when you’re safely and legally parked, or if  you’re using the device to park your vehicle remotely.

What are the penalties?

Failing to comply with these legal requirements can be costly, because if you ignore them and hold and use any of these mobile devices, in addition to earning six penalty points on your licence, there is also a £200 fine.

If you’ve passed your driving test within two years, you’ll face an even greater sanction because with six or more points on your licence, you’ll lose it and will have to apply and pay for a new provisional licence and pass both theory and practical parts of the driving test again, to get your full licence back.

In some instances, you could also be taken to court where you could be potentially fined up to £1,000 or even banned from driving altogether.

Finally, you must also be aware that even if you are using these devices in a legal fashion, if where they are mounted doesn’t allow you to have a full view of the road and traffic ahead or cause you to not have proper control of the vehicle, you can be penalised with three penalty points on your licence.

So, it’s important that you take these new requirements seriously and for the sake of your safety, and for that of other road users, as well as your personal finances and driving future, make sure you follow them.

Article from in the category: Magazine