• 2024-02-27 08:00:30
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    Feb

Device Driving Laws: What You Need to Know

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We’re used to always having our mobile phones and devices on hand to help and support us with our day-to-day needs. However, using devices when driving has proved to be controversial. On one hand, they’ve helped to transform the way we drive and navigate, but on the other hand, they can be hugely distracting and even cause accidents.

In this guide, we investigate the laws around using devices when you drive, what’s permitted, what isn’t, and what the best practices are.

Is it legal to use a mobile phone when driving?

No, it is not legal to use a mobile phone when you are driving. It is illegal to hold a phone in your hands, as well as any other device, while you are driving a vehicle or riding a motorbike.

There is no permissible reason to hold a device in your hand while you’re driving. This applies even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or in traffic, as well as if you’re supervising a learner driver.

The only way you can legally use a phone while you’re driving is if you have a hands-free setup. You will need to ensure the phone is set up to be used hands-free before you start driving. This way, you will be able to take calls without touching the device. The device must be mounted in a way that doesn’t block your view of the road.

Some road safety organisations have made the case that even hands-free use of a phone should be banned while driving. The police have the right to stop you if they think you are distracted while using a phone, even if it is being used hands-free.

Is it legal to use your phone as a sat nav while driving?

You can use your phone as a sat nav while driving as long as it is mounted to the windscreen or dashboard, and you are not handling the phone. Again, the phone will need to be placed in a way that doesn’t block your view of the road.

What are the penalties for using your phone while driving?

If you are caught handling your phone while you’re driving, you can get six penalty points on your licence and a £200 fine. If you get six points in the first two years of passing your test, you’ll lose your licence.

You can get three points on your licence if your phone is blocking your view of the road and/or you don’t have proper control of the vehicle.

If you are stopped for a serious issue regarding using your phone, you may be taken to court. Here, you might be banned from driving completely and could face a fine of £1,000 (or £2,000 if you were driving a lorry or bus).

Is it legal to use a sat nav while driving?

You may have a separate sat nav device for your car. It is legal to use these, but only in the right way. You should not interact with the device while you are driving. You should also ensure it’s mounted correctly so it doesn’t obstruct your view. Often, the best position for your sat nav will be on the bottom part of the windscreen on the right-hand side near the driver.

You should ensure your sat nav is properly set up before you start driving. If you need to adjust the journey, you should pull over in a safe place before you attempt to make changes on the device.

Is it legal to use my car’s infotainment when driving?

If your car has an in-built infotainment system, it is legal to use it. However, the police will still have the right to stop you and issue a fine if you are distracted while driving. So, it’s best to use these devices with voice commands so your eyes can stay on the road.

Some of these infotainment systems have Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto systems, which will mirror your phone and allow you to take calls and play music from your phone through the car. It’s legal to use these systems to use your phone, as long as your focus is always on the road.

Is it legal to use headphones while driving?

There is no specific law around using headphones while driving. However, it’s important that drivers are always aware of what’s going on around them, including being able to hear emergency sirens.

Using headphones can be distracting, and if an accident is caused while you’re wearing headphones, you could face a fine if you’re deemed to be at fault. The police could judge that you were driving carelessly and issue a fine of £100 and three penalty points on your licence. For serious accidents, you could face a fine of £5,000 and nine points on your licence.

It’s also worth noting that other countries do have laws against wearing headphones. For example, if you drive in France, you are not permitted to use any in-ear device that emits sound. If you’re caught, you’ll face a fine of €150 and three points on your licence.

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