• Thu. Dec 1st, 2022

New traffic rules on when you can use your mobile phone are causing confusion – here’s how to avoid being caught off guard

ByCindy J. Daddario

Oct 20, 2022

MOTORISTS are still unsure if they can use their phone while driving under new traffic rules – here’s how to avoid being caught out.

Although six months have passed since UK mobile phone use laws were updated for drivers, some Britons still don’t know what they can and can’t do while driving.

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New traffic rules on whether you can use your phone while driving have been releasedCredit: Getty

Following a change in the law in March, it is now completely illegal to possess and use any mobile phone, satellite navigation system, tablets and other devices that can send and receive data while driving.

This means that drivers can be fined for touching a cell phone while driving in “virtually all circumstances”.

And experts from LeaseCar.com have now urged those behind the wheel to act on the new laws if they don’t want to be slapped with a hefty fine.

Drivers are always allowed to use phones in certain circumstances like making a 999 call or making a contactless payment at a drive-thru restaurant when the car isn’t moving.

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Hands-free access is also allowed under the new rules, as long as motorists do not hold the devices while driving.

This means that a smartphone displaying a map application is allowed if it is in a cradle and not touched by the driver while driving.

However, rather confusingly, the same rule does not apply to a fixed car infotainment system that the driver can touch.

Additionally, if the holder containing the smartphone or aftermarket sat-nav device is placed in a position deemed to obstruct the view of the road and traffic ahead, a fine and points could soon follow.

A spokesperson for LeaseCar.com said: “There is still some confusion around the law changes in March with what you can and cannot do when using cellphones and other devices – to put it simply, it is now totally illegal to have and use these devices while driving.

“Of course there are some exceptions, like when you make a 999 call, but you need to make sure you’re crystal clear about those exceptions or you risk a hefty fine and points on your licence.

“It can be easy for us to get distracted by messages, calls, and notifications popping up on our phones or want to quickly change the song that’s playing. It’s a good idea to put your phone in the box gloved up, out of sight, so as not to be distracted at all.

The change in the law fills a previous loophole that technically allowed drivers to use and hold their phones, as it could be argued that they were not using devices for “interactive communication”, as the law stated. previously.

Devon and Cornwall councils are currently testing mobile phone detection cameras which take pictures of motorists to see if mobile phones or other devices are being used or held while driving.

These cameras could then be deployed across the country, making roads safer and prosecuting those who break the law.

It is now totally illegal for those behind the wheel to hold their phones and devices, even if they are turned off.

The highway code specifies very clearly that this law always applies to drivers stopped at traffic lights or waiting in line; when supervising a learner driver; or using a car with auto stop-start technology.

There are also rules when using devices with hands-free access – drivers can use hands-free devices in their car, as long as they are not holding them while driving.

Hands-free access devices include Bluetooth headsets, voice control systems, windshield mounts, dashboard mounts, or built-in satellite navigation systems.

If drivers wish to turn off or otherwise use devices with hands-free access, such as changing directions on sat nav and map apps, they should stop and park safely to use the device legally.

Motorists caught holding or using mobile phones or other touchscreen devices while driving could face up to six points on their license and a £200 fine.

And for those who have passed their exam within the last two years, their driver’s license could be revoked altogether.