Tougher rules from March for drivers using mobile phones

The AA described it as a ‘much-needed upgrade of the law’ to help make the roads safer.

Catherine Wylie
Tuesday 01 February 2022 18:42
The new rules take effect from March 25 (PA)
The new rules take effect from March 25 (PA)

Drivers will face tougher rules from March when it comes to the use of mobile phones and other devices behind the wheel.

Under current laws, drivers are banned from texting or making a phone call – other than in an emergency – while using a handheld device.

From March 25, drivers in England Scotland and Wales will not be allowed to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or access apps on their phones when driving.

Mobile phones offer many distractions and this sends a clear message that picking them up to use them will not be tolerated

Edmund King, AA president

Anyone caught using their hand-held device while driving will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence.

Drivers can still use devices such as sat navs and mobile phones using satellite navigation, if they are secured in a cradle.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “The AA has long campaigned to toughen up these rules, and we welcome this announcement.

“This is a much-needed upgrade of the law to help make our roads safer.

“Mobile phones offer many distractions and this sends a clear message that picking them up to use them will not be tolerated.

“The law will also become tougher as the use of smartwatches, tablets and laptops behind the wheel will apply.

“Drivers will be extremely limited on when they can pick up their phone, mainly to call the emergency services when there was no opportunity to safely pull over and to make contactless payments at drive-thrus.

“Being sat in a traffic jam or waiting at the lights is not an excuse, we want people to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.”

The legislation was laid before Parliament on Tuesday with the March 25 date confirmed.

When the Government unveiled the new rules in November, analysis showed that 17 people were killed on Britain’s roads the previous year in crashes involving drivers distracted by mobile phones.

Department for Transport figures showed a further 114 people were seriously injured and 385 were slightly injured in such collisions.

More than one in six of those killed or seriously injured were either a pedestrian or a cyclist, highlighting the threat posed to vulnerable road users from drivers preoccupied by phones.

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