When can I use a mobile phone while driving?

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Stricter penalties for using your mobile phone while driving came into effect yesterday.

Fines increased from £100 to £200 while penalty points jumped from three to six.

For bus drivers and goods vehicle drivers the fines gave jumped from £1,000 to £2,500 if you’re taken to court.

The changes have been introduced to reduce the number of accidents on the road as a result of mobile phone and handheld device use, despite the fact that it has been illegal to use a hand-held device since December 2013.

It’s something that Prime minister Theresa May has riled against, calling for it to become as “socially unacceptable” as drink driving now is.

But when can you use a mobile phone when you’re driving? We’ve looked at the laws to make things clear for everyone.

Can you use your phone while stationary at traffic lights?

No – it doesn’t matter if you’re moving or not, you can’t use your mobile phone behind the wheel.

Can I press one button and then go hands-free?

No – you cannot touch your phone while driving at all.

If you’re going hands-free at all your phone needs to be secure in a holder and outside of your 45-degree field of view and you need an accessory that allows you to do so safely, like a Bluetooth headset.

Can I use my phone’s sat nav for directions?

You can use your phone for sat nav directions however you must programme it before you start your car and get moving.

Once moving, you’re not allowed to touch it and it must be positioned outside of the 45-degree field of view for drivers.

Can I answer a call while driving?

You can answer a call while moving however you must do so using a hands-free system – essentially, you can’t touch your phone while you’re on the move, whether it’s to answer a call or check Facebook.

What can you do if you need to take a call?

Advice from the AA is to pull over, stop the car and then answer the call if it’s safe to do so or leave the call and allow it to go to voicemail.

If you’ve got a hands-free system you’re advised to keep the conversation short and arrange to call back when it’s safe and legal to do so.

What is a hands-free system?

A hands-free system is a mobile phone accessory that allows you to use your phone without holding and touching it.

They are legal to use behind the wheel however if you’re deemed not to be in control of your vehicle while using a hands-free system, you can still be prosecuted.

The important thing to remember about using your mobile phone in the car is that it is illegal to touch it at all.

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