New rules for using a mobile phone while driving are coming into force.

25 March 2022

Drivers will be hit with a minimum £200 fine and 6 points for handling a phone for any of the following reasons:

  • illuminating the screen
  • checking the time
  • checking notifications
  • unlocking the device
  • making, receiving or rejecting a telephone or internet-based call
  • sending, receiving, or uploading oral or written consent
  • sending, receiving, or uploading a photo or video
  • utilising the camera, video, or sound recording
  • drafting any text
  • accessing any stored data such as documents, books, audio files, photos, videos, films, playlists, notes, or messages
  • accessing an app
  • accessing the internet

There are some exemptions to the new rule, which include using a device in an emergency situation. Another exemption is using a mobile phone to make a contactless payment at a terminal, for example, a drive-thru takeaway. That said, the vehicle must remain stationary while using your phone.

The new rules mean new drivers that break the law, and who has only been driving for less than two years, would have their license revoked and would be made to re-sit a driving test.

Handling a phone in any way, from touching the screen to scrolling a music playlist, browsing the internet, taking a photograph, or playing a mobile game is now strictly prohibited, and these rules apply when stopped at a red light or stuck in traffic.

Drivers will still legally be allowed to use their phones as sat-navs if they are secured in a mount on the windscreen - though you can still be punished if the police believe a driver is touching a device in a cradle.

The minimum punishment for being caught handling a phone at the wheel is a £200 fine and six penalty points, though the DfT says fines can escalate as high as £1,000 and motorists could receive a driving ban in worst cases.

Using a mobile phone while driving