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Tougher penalties for drivers caught using their mobile phone

March 2017

From the 1st of March, anyone caught using his or her mobile phone illegally whilst behind the wheel of a vehicle.

The new penalty will rise to 6 penalty points and a fine of £200. This also means that new drivers, if convicted, will have to retake their driving theory and practical tests due to the lower penalty point limit which new drivers have.

So what are the rules about what you can and can’t do behind the wheel?

What qualifies as ‘hands free’?

Hands free is when the phone is in a cradle or holder attached to the dashboard, earphones or a Bluetooth connection.

Am I allowed to use the phone’s Satellite Navigation?

Yes, as long as the phone is secured in a hands free mounting. It is illegal to use it whilst it is held in your hands.

Can I listen to music on the phone?

Yes, as long as the phone is secured in a hands free mounting or is using a Bluetooth connection.

Can I watch videos on the phone?

No – not even if as the phone is secured in a hands free mounting.

Can I send a text or check social media or a website if I am queuing in traffic or stopped at traffic lights?

No, a handheld phone cannot be used even if you are stationary at lights. Texting or using the Internet is distracting even if the phone is secured in a holder.

What are the rules about using a phone when pulled over?

You can use your phone when the car is safely parked and the engine is switched off.

In addition, anything that causes you to be distracted behind the wheel and therefore to drive unsafely, be it music or sat nav, can still result in you being prosecuted.

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