It is already illegal to text or make a phone call (other than in an emergency) using a hand-held device while driving in the UK, but from March 2022, the government strengthened existing laws to further improve road safety. It is now also illegal to use your mobile phone behind the wheel for the majority of all functionality, including taking photos, videos of any kind, scrolling through your music playlist or playing games.
An exemption to the rule is contactless payments such as those at a drive-thru so long as the vehicle is stationary. A device can also be used handsfree while driving if secured in a cradle, allowing sat nav use. It is also important to remember that you can still be charged with an offence if not in control of the vehicle whilst checking the sat nav.
Dangers of using your phone while driving
Figures reported widely in the press indicate that in 2020 alone, accidents involving drivers using/distracted by mobile phones on UK roads saw:
17 people killed;
114 people seriously injured; and
385 people slightly injured.
The likelihood is the numbers are much, much higher in reality. Families and lives have changed forever as a result of people using their phones while driving, killing innocent drivers, passengers and other road users. Think! report that male drivers aged between 17-24 are four times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than male drivers aged 25 or over. The Think! campaign also highlights how male and female drivers of the same age group have similar attitudes to driving while using their phone and less awareness of the law and penalties than older age groups.
The cost for having points
As well as the danger and risks you put yourself at while using your phone, it can also have a significant impact on your immediate bank balance with a fine of up to £1,000. On top of that your car or van insurer is likely to increase premiums as a result. 17 to 24 year olds already face higher premiums because they lack experience and proven safe driving records, so clocking up points on your licence is the last thing you need. When it comes to driving, points do not mean prizes. They mean higher insurance costs and you could lose your licence. With this in mind, is it really that important to take that picture, video or immediately respond to that message?
If you've already got points on your licence, switching to a black box insurance policy could save you money and help you demonstrate responsible driving. Head to our black box car insurance article to find out more.