Use of hand-held phone while driving laws updated

Police will soon be able to more easily prosecute drivers using a hand-held mobile phone at the wheel as the Government strengthens existing laws to further improve road safety.

It is already illegal to text or make a phone call (other than in an emergency) using a hand-held device while driving. Next year, laws will ban drivers from using their phones for any non-emergency tasks, such as to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games. 

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

The Government ran a consultation from 17 October 2020 to 17 January 2021. It also sought views on creating a new exemption to the offence of using a hand-held mobile phone while driving, to enable drivers to use a hand-held mobile phone to pay for goods or services that they would be receiving immediately, for example a drive-thru takeaway. 

Given the substantial level of support, the Department for Transport (DfT) intends to implement the change proposed in the consultation document at the earliest opportunity so that the police can enforce the offence in a more straightforward way. 

The Government’s response to the consultation including next steps and a summary of responses has now been published. 

The Government has also published a research report about the use of mobile phones while driving.