Earlier this month the penalties for use of a mobile phone when driving were increased, however it would seem there is still some confusion over what is and isn't legal when it comes to using a phone behind the wheel. The Private Hire and Taxi Association have had a number of drivers contacting them regarding this issue so approached the Department for Transport for clarification on this matter. The DfT provided the following facts:
- If caught using a handheld device when driving the penalty is £200 and 6 points on your licence.
- It is also illegal to hold a satellite navigation system when driving.
- The only exception to the rule is if you are required to dial 999 or 112 in a genuine emergency and it is unsafe or impractical to stop.
- It is NOT illegal to use a handsfree set (mounted/headset/headphones) to speak on a mobile phone.
- However if using a hands free set (for example when touching a mounted phone) causes your driving to suffer, it is possible this could lead to other offenses, for example, you could be prosecuted for dangerous driving, careless driving or not being in proper control of the vehicle.
It is clear that use of any in-car equipment including holding/touching a mobile phone or sat nav can severely affect your driving performance putting yourself at risk of prosecution, risking your own safety and the safety of others. This is something we all need to keep in mind in order to drive with as much care as possible.