Laws have changed for driving and using a mobile phone

Driving whilst using a mobile phone for texting or calling has been illegal since 2003. However, the law did not cover holding a mobile phone which allowed using social media or playing a game. 

As of 2022, it is illegal to hold a mobile phone whilst driving. Breaking this law could lead to a £200 fine and 6 points on your licence.

The only reason you should use a mobile phone whilst driving is to call 999 or 112 when it is unsafe or impractical to stop. Otherwise, you need to be parked in a safe location.

driving mobile phone

Why change the law?

In 2019 a driver was caught filming an accident. The 51-year-old successfully appealed the decision based on the fact that he was not using the phone as a communication device.

Following the trial, two High Court judges said that the law has not been able to keep up with the development of mobile phone technology.

You are four times more likely to cause an accident when using a hand-held mobile device. So this change in the law should protect drivers from becoming distracted while driving.

Timeline of using mobile phones while driving UK laws

As a new technology mobile phones and driving have always been at odds with legislation.

At first, the use of phones in cars was a luxury. Entering the 2000s mobile phone use had become commonplace, and the dangers of using such devices became well known. 

Timeline of mobile phone use when driving laws in the UK:

  • December 2003, the first laws were introduced that restricted the use of mobile phones for communication whilst driving.
  • In 2007, drivers who used a handheld mobile phone while driving received a £60 fine and three points on their licence.
  • By 2013 the fine increased to £100.
  • From March 1st 2017 the penalty doubled. If you were caught driving while using a mobile phone in the UK you get a £200 fine and six points on your licence.
  • In 2022, a loophole in the law where you can drive, take photos, videos or play games has been closed. If you drive and use a handheld device in any capacity you could receive a £200 fine and six penalty points on your licence.

Transport Secretary Grant Shaps commented on the law change:

“Too many deaths and injuries occur while mobile phones are being held.

“By making it easier to prosecute people illegally using their phone at the wheel, we are ensuring the law is brought into the 21st century while further protecting all road users.

“While our roads remain among the safest in the world, we will continue working tirelessly to make them safer, including through our award-winning THINK! campaign, which challenges social norms among high-risk drivers.”

The law change should make the roads safer and make it easier for culprits to be prosecuted.

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