Mobile phones

It is a specific offence to use a hand-held phone or similar device when driving.

Hand-held phones and other similar devices

You must not use a hand-held phone or similar hand-held device while driving because it causes a distraction. This can lead to a loss of control while driving, which in turn can result in careless or dangerous driving and collisions.

Hands-free phone equipment

If a phone can be operated without holding it, then hands-free equipment can be used.

Pushing buttons on a phone while it is in a cradle or on the steering wheel or handlebars of a motorbike, for example, isn't an offence, as long as the phone isn't held.

However, hands-free phones are also distracting. If you use a hands-free phone when driving and you don't have control of the vehicle, you could still risk prosecution. If there is an incident and you were using a phone or similar device, you could be charged careless or dangerous driving.

Computer equipment

You can use satellite navigation equipment, personal digital assistants or other computer equipment that sends or receives data, as long as they're not handheld devices.

However, the Highway Code states that using in-vehicle systems can be distracting. You must be in control of your vehicle at all times. As above, if there is an incident and you were using any kind of computer equipment, you could be charged for careless or dangerous driving.

Who do these rules apply to?

These rules apply to the drivers of all motor vehicles on the road, including cars, motorcycles, goods vehicles, buses, coaches and taxis.

They also apply to anyone supervising a learner driver. If you're supervising a learner driver, you need to be concentrating on what the driver is doing and not using a mobile phone.

Can I use a hand-held mobile phone when stopped in a traffic jam?

You can't use a hand-held device while you've stopped at traffic lights or during other hold-ups that can happen during a typical journey. In exceptional traffic jams, such as a lengthy stoppage on a motorway, switching off your engine would make it clear that you weren't driving.

Exemptions

There is an exemption for calls to 999 (or 112) in genuine emergencies where it's unsafe or impractical to stop.

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