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What you need to know

  • The UK is getting even tougher on using a phone while driving.
  • Laws are coming to ban all use, not just calls and texts.
  • It will also clarify that using a phone in a stationary vehicle counts as driving.

The UK is clamping down even harder on using a mobile phone while driving.

In a statement today the Department for Transport and transport secretary Grant Shapps MP said:

Police will soon be able to more easily prosecute drivers using a hand-held mobile phone at the wheel after the government strengthens existing laws to further improve road safety.

It is already illegal to text or make a phone call (other than in an emergency) using a hand-held device while driving. Next year, laws will go further to ban drivers from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games.

Getting caught will mean a £200 fixed penalty notice and 6 points on your driving license. Of course, using a hands-free device, or one of Apple's best iPhones through CarPlay is permitted as long as the phone is secured in a cradle. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said "too many deaths and injuries occur while mobile phones are being held" and that the new laws would bring guidance into the 21st century.

A UK public consultation showed 81% of participants supported strengthening laws. The government will also revise the Highway Code to reflect the new measures, and confirmed that it would be "more precise" about the fact using a phone while stationary in a car at traffic lights or in a motorway jam "is illegal except in very limited circumstances." One exemption will allow drivers to make contactless payment using a mobile phone while stationary, such as at a drive-through or toll booth, again to keep pace with tech.