It has been illegal to use a hand held mobile phone while driving since December 2003
It is illegal to use a mobile phone held in the hand while driving or while stopped with the engine on.
It has been illegal to use a hand held mobile phone while driving since December 2003.
If you break this law, even if you are otherwise driving safely, you could face a fine of £100 and three penalty points on your licence.
You will be summonsed to appear in court if you refuse to accept the fixed penalty and may also be taken to court if the policeman thinks the offence so bad that a fixed penalty is inadequate.
If you go to court, fines will almost certainly be larger and disqualification is possible - the maximum fine in a court is £1000, or £2500 you were driving a bus or a goods vehicle.
These offences apply simply if you are seen using a mobile while driving. If your driving is bad, or if there is a crash while you are using the phone, you could be prosecuted for careless driving, dangerous driving or, if someone is killed, for causing death by careless or dangerous driving.
Fines can be much greater, and prison becomes almost certain if a death is caused.
Following a successful three month trial in 2014 the police are to start using an unmarked lorry to catch drivers who text and phone. Sitting high above the traffic, officers will be able to observe and record offences that would not normally be visible from a car.
The campaign will cover the Motorway and main road network in England and Wales
While it is an offence to be seen using a hand held phone, regardless of whether driving has been affected, this is not the case for hands-free phones.
However, if you are seen not to be in control of a vehicle while using a hands-free phone you can be prosecuted for that offence. The penalties are the same as for using a hand-held phone.
Your employer may be open to prosecution:
It's not an offence to cycle and use a hand held mobile phone. However it is possible for you to be prosecuted for careless or dangerous cycling.
You can make a call to 999 or 112 in a genuine emergency, provided it is unsafe or impractical for you to stop first.
Other devices that send or receive data (for example Personal Digital Assistants) are not exempt. The one exception is two way radios.
Hand-held device – something that "is or must be held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call or performing any other interactive communication function".
Device – "similar" to a mobile phone if it performs an interactive communication function by transmitting and receiving data.
There is worldwide evidence that using any sort of phone has a considerable effect on accident risk, so simply complying with the law does not make you a safe driver.
While it's not a specific offence, using a hands free phone can have a major bearing on whether or not you could be found guilty of careless or dangerous driving.
These offences can carry substantial fines, disqualifications and even imprisonment.
If you call someone and think that they might be driving, ask them:
(17 February 2015)