What Is Happening And When?
Allowing yourself as a driver to be distracted when behind the wheel now carries a tougher penalty than ever before. While it is not against the law to eat or use a sat nav while you are driving, you are still at risk of being prosecuted if a result of this is letting your standard of driving decline.
From 1st March 2017 you will receive a £200 penalty and six points on your licence if caught using your handheld mobile when driving. This has risen from a previous penalty amount of £100 and three points on your licence. Further more, if you are caught TWICE doing this, you automatically have to appear in court and face a six month driving ban and a £1,000 fine. With this in mind, it pays to be clear about the the laws on when and how you can legally use a mobile phone in a car or even using a sat nav, eating or drinking.
What Can You Legally Do While Driving?
Firstly, any mobile phone or handheld internet device is illegal to use when behind the wheel. This includes hand held sat navs and tablets. This law still applies when you are stationary in a queue, traffic jam or traffic lights. Basically, even if you are parked up, if you are in the driving seat with the engine running then this law applies. The one and only exception to this is if you are driving and urgently need to call 999 and it is not safe or practical to stop the car. If you are safely parked up with the engine off but still in the driving seat you are permitted to use your devices as you wish.
Pushing buttons to answer a phone call, change music or enter an address into a sat nav are all against the law while driving. You can use your mobile as a sat nav as long as you do not touch it while driving and it is in a secure holder and not in full view of the driver.
Hands free kits are permitted but you can not press a button to receive or make a call while you are driving. If the police believe the use of your hands free has impaired your driving then you can be fined £100 and received three points on your licence.
There is no specific law regarding eating while driving but if it is believed that eating has distracted you then you can be prosecuted. The same applies to smoking and drinking.
In summary, it is best, where possible, to avoid anything that will distract you from driving. Make all calls before or after your journey or when parked up in a safe place and plug your information into your sat nav device before setting off.« How Is Car Tax Changing in 2017?New Emissions Stickers For Motorists Driving To France »