Driving and mobile phone laws – what you need to know

Driving and mobile phone laws – what you need to know

You might find yourself doing it automatically (be careful!) but it’s actually illegal to use your mobile phone whilst driving unless you have hands-free access. It’s pretty obvious why. Everyone knows how much of a distraction phones can be, and distracted drivers don’t exactly make for safe roads. But what are the rules around using your phone as a sat nav? 

Here’s everything you need to know about driving and mobile phone laws. 

The UK’s laws around mobile phone use in cars are generally quite straightforward. If you’re caught so much as holding your phone at the wheel – let alone visibly using it – you’ll receive 6 penalty points and a £200 fine, and if you’ve only recently passed your driving test, using a phone whilst on the move can result in being stripped of your licence. Clearly, it’s worth taking note of the regulations.

Basic principle of mobile phone use in cars

If you’re using a phone at the wheel you are not fully in control of your vehicle and could pose a danger to yourself and other drivers. According to the law, you can only use a hand-held phone in the car if you’re safely parked or you need to make an emergency call and it is “unsafe or impractical to stop.” Thankfully the latter isn’t the most common occurrence, so picking up the phone in the car really shouldn’t even enter your thinking except in the most extreme circumstances.

But is that all there is to it? Here at Road Angel we’re regularly asked if there are any exceptions to what on the face of it looks like a blanket ban, and the answer is… complex. Remember that phones can do a lot of things besides making calls and texting (both of which will land you in hot water if done at the wheel). 

Is it illegal to use your phone as a sat nav?

Generally speaking it isn’t – as long as you are using the device hands-free. To repeat: Hands-free is the crucial factor here. The law states that Bluetooth headsets and windscreen mounts are fine, as is voice command. There is just one caveat to this rule, which is that the device must not impede your view of the road ahead. This would count as a major distraction and, again, would mean you are not fully in control of your vehicle – potentially bagging you 3 penalty points, or worse. 

The laws on mobile phones and driving are designed to keep yourself and others safe, so it’s worth familiarising yourself with these simple rules. Remember: hands-free devices are perfectly acceptable as long as they don’t block your view of the road. Anything else – especially making a call or texting at the wheel – is a definite no-no. 

If you’re looking to purchase a premium quality hands-free sat nav device, or any accessories such as a windscreen mount, check out the extensive range of Road Angel products. We guarantee you’ll be satisfied – and because our range is designed to be fully compliant with the law, you’ll be safely within the rules.