The law on driving while using a mobile phone becomes stricter today

Driver using a mobile phone at the wheel
Shot of a male using mobile phone while driving the car

On 25 March 2022, the law on people using their mobile phones while driving in Great Britain has become tougher to keep up with technology. 

Since 2003, it’s been an offence to use a hand-held mobile phone or similar hand-held device while driving in Great Britain. The offence carries a minimum penalty of a £200 fine and six penalty points.

Mobile phones have become capable of performing many more tasks beyond ‘interactive communication’. They are used to play music and games, take photos or videos, or scroll through news and social media. The Government has said, the “array of functions that mobile phones can now perform has outgrown the wording of the offence and its parameters”.

The Government added, “all use of a hand-held mobile phone while driving is reckless and dangerous, and not just when being used for the purposes of a call or other interactive communication.”

The new law means the offence is triggered whenever a driver holds and uses a device, regardless of why they are holding it.

The meaning of ‘using’ a phone will be expanded to cover the following:

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 content
sending, receiving or uploading a photo or video
utilising 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

The law will come into force on 25 March 2022, and will have effect in England, Scotland and Wales. For background information, see the Library briefing on Road traffic offences and licensing FAQs.

25 March 2022

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