Thousands of drivers are caught each year by police after using their mobile phone at the wheel.
Despite several high-profile campaigns and the government raising the fine if you are caught to £200, some motorists persist in calling and texting while on the road.
Can you use a mobile phone while driving?
It has been illegal to touch a mobile phone even with a hands free set since 2003. This includes using a mobile to follow a map, read a text or check social media. The law applies even if you are stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic as your engine is still running, meaning you can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked or if you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it is unsafe or unpractical to stop.
You can use hands-free phones as long as you don’t press any buttons on your phone, sat navs or two-way radios when you’re driving or riding but if the police think you’re distracted and not in control of your vehicle you could still get stopped and penalised.
Previously, drivers caught on their phones received three penalty points but new government legislation has seen the amount doubled to six points. But, as new drivers only start with six points for their first two years on the road, a conviction will mean an instant ban.
Previously, motorists in some police force areas could avoid points by taking a remedial driving course but ministers believed it wasn’t tough enough so the new regulations now mean those caught using a mobile phone for the first time will automatically receive penalty points.
The new rules come into effect on March 1st 2017. If you want to avoid 6 points and a £200 fine then we suggest pre-mapping your journey before you set off and making sure your phone is out of sight so you can’t be tempted to check a text or change song.