A change in law which toughens the rules around mobile phone use behind the wheel has come into effect.

It’s illegal to use a hand-held device such as a phone, sat nav, tablet, or any device that can send or receive data, while driving or riding a motorcycle.

This means you must not use a device in your hand for any reason, whether online or offline.

The law still applies to you if you’re:

  • stopped at traffic lights
  • queuing in traffic
  • supervising a learner driver
  • driving a car that turns off the engine when you stop moving
  • holding and using a device that’s offline or in flight mode

There are a few exceptions – if you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop, or if you are making a contactless payment at a drive-thru. For everything else, you must wait until you are safely parked before using a hand-held device.

Previous law had stated it is a criminal offence to use a hand-held mobile phone to call or text while driving. However, a legal loophole allowed drivers to evade punishment for other actions such as taking photos or videos.

The new law came into effect on 25 March 2022 – and means anyone caught using their hand-held device while driving will face a fixed penalty notice of £200 or a fine of up to £1000 and six points on their licence.

You can read more about the legislation, exceptions, and penalties on gov.uk.

THINK! have launched an £800,000 awareness campaign to raise awareness around the legislation changes. The new campaign ‘Guardian Mates’ includes a series of short films and a radio ad which use the power of influence and respect between mates to help drivers tackle the temptation to pick up their phone.