It is now a specific offence to use a hand-held phone, or similar device, when driving. The penalty is a £30 fixed penalty or up to 1,000 on conviction in court (£2,500 for drivers of goods vehicles, buses or coaches). Drivers still risk prosecution (for failure to have proper control) if they use hands-free phones when driving.
Phones in cars can have many benefits. They provide security and help in an emergency. However, they are distracting if used when driving and this increases the risk of a crash. It is hard to do two things at once and to drive safely you must concentrate on the road.
Switch off before you drive off
It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone when driving, even when you are stopped at traffic lights or in a queue of traffic. This includes making or receiving calls, pictures, text messaging or accessing the Internet. You must pull over to a safe location. Risk using a hand-held mobile phone when driving, and you risk a fine.
Mobile phones and the law
You would be breaking the law if you picked up or used any type of phone that is, or must be, held to operate it. You may receive a fixed penalty fine of £30, raising to a maximum of £1000 (£2,500 for drivers of vans, lorries, buses and coaches) if the matter goes to court. You can also be prosecuted for using a hands-free mobile phone if you fail to have proper control of your vehicle. Drive carelessly or dangerously when using any phone and the penalties can include disqualification, a large fine, and up to two years imprisonment.
Even if you are a careful driver, you will still be distracted by a phone call or text message. Your concentration and anticipation will be affected.
It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone when driving.
Keep your mobile phone switched off when driving and use your voicemail, a message service or call diversion so that messages can be left for you when your phone is switched off.
Only use your mobile phone after you have stopped in a safe place. Never stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency.
You may think a hands-free phone will enable you to have control of your vehicle, but your mind will not be fully on your driving. It is not like talking to a passenger who will be aware of what is happening when you are driving.
Avoid taking calls on a hands-free phone. But if you must, say you are driving and end the conversation quickly. Otherwise you will put yourself and other road users at risk.
You may use a mobile phone when driving for help in an genuine emergency when it is unsafe or impractical to stop driving to make a 999 call. On a motorway it is best to use a roadside emergency telephone, as the emergency services will be able to locate you easily.
Do not ask your staff to make or receive calls when they are driving.
As an employer you may also be prosecuted if you require your employees to use a mobile phone when driving.
If it is essential for your staff to be contacted when they are driving, tell them to use voice mail, a message service or call diversion and to stop regularly to check messages and return calls.
Do not forget the advice in the Highway Code about other distractions that may affect your concentration when driving. To drive safety avoid: