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Vehicle and Radio Communications
Automotive Electronics for the North East

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Using a mobile while driving

In 2003 a law was introduced making it illegal to use a handheld communications device while driving.

Penalties were initially a £30 fine. This was increased, in 2007, to £60 and three penalty points. This was raised again in August 2017 to 6 points and £200 fine!

A 'communications device' was defined as any handheld device used to transmit or receive data - this would include speech, texts, facsimile or internet access. Two way radios, used by the emergency services, taxis and others, are specifically excluded from this law.

There are obvious dangers in using a handheld telephone while driving, but the main risk is that of the conversation itself (RoSPA). For this reason, using a handsfree kit while driving should also be avoided, and can result in a prosecution if the driving was deemed to be careless or dangerous, contributed to by the telephone call. however, Handsfree Carkits and Two Way Radios are not covered by this particular legislation.

A device is hand-held if at any point the device must be held while making or receiving the call. The law applies to a driver, or a qualified licence holder supervising a learner driver, of any motor vehicle, including motorcycles, while the vehicle is in motion, or stationary with the engine running.

Apart from two way radios, the other exception to the law is if the mobile is used in a genuine emergency to dial 999 or 112 and it is deemed unsafe to stop (RoSPA).

While we have endeavoured to make this page as readable and factual as possible, we cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Please refer to the RoSPA website for a fuller description of the law on using a mobile while driving.

To read the full RoSPA Road Safety Advice on these driving laws, visit the RoSPA website.