Mobile Phones and Cars. Do You Know the Rules?


Crazy as it may sound, almost two thirds of UK drivers say they aren’t aware of the current penalties for using handheld phones at the wheel.

Despite rising numbers of fatalities linked to mobile use, a survey of over 2,000 drivers found that just 36% of motorists know the punishments.

The RAC calls the figures “remarkable”, claiming there is “still much more to be done” to stop the use of phones at the wheel.

Tougher measures were introduced in March 2017 with the new penalty set at six points and a £200 fine, but over a quarter (26%) are not aware that the penalties have even changed.

Here are some reminders

  • Using a hand-held mobile phone while driving is illegal. It is also illegal if you are a passenger supervising a learner driver.
  • Being caught using a mobile phone while driving carries a penalty of six points and a £200 fine.
  • Up to now, police forces have had the power to offer awareness courses instead of penalties for hand-held mobile phone use. Almost two in three drivers caught under the law chose an awareness course instead of points and a fine. The government is lobbying for this option to be withdrawn
  • Using a mobile phone as Sat-Nav is illegal
  • The number and quality of navigation apps available for download increases every month. However, it is no excuse to say you’re simply following the mapping on your hand-held device and that’s why you’ve picked it up.
  • The mobile phone law specifically refers to this, stating it is illegal to use a hand-held mobile to follow a map.
  • If you wish to use smartphone navigation or a mapping app, fix the phone to the windscreen or dashboard, so it’s in clear view for use while driving (but not obstructing your view), without requiring you to hold or interact with it.
  • Even when stopped at lights or in a traffic queue you cannot use a hand-held mobile phone
  • Contrary to what many drivers seem to think, the law still applies when your vehicle is stopped at lights or in a traffic queue. If your engine is running, your phone should be nowhere near your hands. This is still the case if the engine stops automatically to save fuel (called ‘start-stop technology).
  • In the RAC Report on Motoring 2016, a staggering 47% of drivers said they think it’s OK to check social media or text messages while stopped in traffic.
  • Using hands-free phone kits is currently legal in the UK, although police still have the right to penalise any hands-free user they think is being distracted and isn’t in control of their vehicle.

We would be interested to hear your views on this topic especially from those who live within our primary customer area. We serve a fairly wide area from Farnham including Tilford, Frensham, Churt, Headley, Headley Down, Lindford, Bordon, Kingsely, Alton, Crondall, Church Crookham, Fleet, Aldershot, Farnborough, Camberley.

Telephone: 01252 217087
Email: [email protected]

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