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Motoring: Law changes for mobile phone use

Drivers will now be breaking the law if they are using their handheld devices while behind the wheel of their vehicle, or riding their motorcycle.

From 25th March 2022, it will be illegal for motorists to use a handheld mobile phone under virtually any circumstance while driving. This also includes any device that can send or receive data, such as a sat nav or tablet.

The changes, as listed on gov.uk are as follows:

You must not use a device in your hand for any reason, whether online or offline. For example, you must not text, make calls, take photos or videos, or browse the web.

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


You can use a device held in your hand if:

  • you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop
  • you’re safely parked
  • you’re making a contactless payment in a vehicle that is not moving, for example at a drive-through restaurant
  • you’re using the device to park your vehicle remotely

Using devices hands-free

You can use devices with hands-free access, as long as you do not hold them at any time during usage. Hands-free access means using, for example:

  • a Bluetooth headset
  • voice command
  • a dashboard holder or mat
  • a windscreen mount
  • a built-in sat nav

The device must not block your view of the road and traffic ahead.

Staying in full control of your vehicle

You must stay in full control of your vehicle at all times. The police can stop you if they think you’re not in control because you’re distracted and you can be prosecuted.


You can get 6 penalty points and a £200 fine if you hold and use a phone, sat nav, tablet, or any device that can send and receive data while driving or riding a motorcycle.

You’ll also lose your licence if you passed your driving test in the last 2 years.

You can get 3 penalty points if you do not have a full view of the road and traffic ahead or proper control of the vehicle.

You can also be taken to court where you can:

Commenting on the news, Fosters’ Head of Crime & Business Defence Chris Brown, said: “This removes the so-called ‘loophole’ that previously existed regarding the functions of mobile phones while driving.

“In reality the new law will make it easier to successfully prosecute motorists, but the issue of proving use of the phone will remain in all cases.”

Our specialist Motoring team are available to provide expert advice regarding these changes to the law, and represent those who are facing charges under the new legislation.

 To receive a free no obligation quote, please complete our online quote form or contact our team directly either by email or by calling 01603 723717.

This article was produced on the 25th March 2022 by our Crime & Business Defence team for information purposes only and should not be construed or relied upon as specific legal advice.