Legal Notice: New Mobile Phone Driving Laws

An important step to improve road safety and combat mobile phone use while driving was implemented on March 25, 2022.

In short, the police will no longer be required to prove that a hand-held mobile phone was used while driving for the purpose of performing an “interactive communication function”.

Email sign-up form:, the law has been updated to cover almost all manual use of a mobile phone while driving and will include the following:

  • Brighten the screen
  • Checking the time
  • Checking Notifications
  • Device Unlock
  • Make, receive or reject a phone or internet call
  • Send, receive or download oral or written content
  • Send, receive or download a photo or video
  • Using the camera, video, or sound recording feature
  • Write any text
  • Access all stored data such as documents, books, audio files, photos, videos, movies, playlists, notes or messages
  • Access an app
  • Access the Internet

The police will still have to prove that the mobile phone was used while driving, but we expect to see a significant increase in police checks and crackdowns.

It is also important to note that the law has been tightened further and the use of other interactive devices such as smartwatches will also apply.

Will drivers still be able to use a mobile phone in “hands-free” mode?

Yes, this will be permitted and will include its use as a sat nav, which many of us do on a daily basis. However, the mobile phone must be properly fixed to the dashboard in a suitable support.

It will be an offense for drivers to use a phone as GPS while the phone is in their lap, in the passenger seat or propped up elsewhere.

Are there any exemptions?

It has been recognized that many road users use their mobile phone as a method of payment in drive-through services, for example, and the updated Regulations include a new exemption where a phone or other interactive communication device is used to make a contactless call. payment at a contactless payment terminal.

However, the payment must be for “a good or service that is received at the same time as, or after, the contactless payment is made” and the vehicle must be stationary.

Drivers will continue to be allowed to make an emergency call if it is unsafe to stop to do so.

What are the implications for a driver caught using a mobile phone?

Drivers caught in the act will continue to receive 6 points on their driving license and a fixed £200 fine.

Two offenses in three years would therefore result in a cumulative driving ban for a period of at least six months and, above all, the threat remains for drivers in the first two years following the passing of their exam who would risk having their license withdrawn. if he receives 6 penalty points during this period.

As far as the transportation industry is concerned, professional drivers should be under no illusions that a mobile phone-while-driving violation will most likely result in their being summoned to a driver conduct hearing, repeat violations which could lead to shining the spotlight on the operator, which could lead to a public inquiry and possible dismissal.

Nathan Taylor-Allkins, Partner, Regulatory and Dispute Resolution, Woodfines Solicitors
Nathan Taylor-Allkins, Partner, Regulatory and Dispute Resolution, Woodfines Solicitors

It is strongly recommended that all companies update their mobile phone policies and driver’s manuals to reflect these changes and ensure that all drivers are aware of what is expected of them.

Our transport team provides specialist advice and representation to commercial and private drivers.

If you find yourself facing prosecution for a traffic offence, or need a review of your driver’s handbook, please contact a member of the team at [email protected] or 0344 967 2505.

Nathan Taylor Allkins
Partner, Regulatory and Dispute Resolution
Advertising function with Woodfines Lawyers

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