A Guide to the New Mobile Phone Rules

Hand holding a smartphone beside a parked car.

Published 25 April 2022
Last updated 26 April 2022

In this blog we'll look at the new mobile phone rules in the Highway Code.

You may have heard that there’s a brand spanking new version of The Highway Code kicking around. You may also have heard that this update contains a few changes to the rules of the road.

So, rather than bombard you with a blizzard of information, we thought we’d pull out some key points to help you stay on the right side of the law.

Mobile phones: what’s changed?

This week we’re going kick things off with our guide to the new mobile phone rules.

The main thing to know is that any use of a mobile phone while driving is now illegal, except in limited circumstances. That means you must not use a device (of any kind) in your hand for any reason – even if it’s offline or in flight mode.

This means that you cannot use your phone when you’re

  • driving
  • waiting at traffic lights
  • queuing in traffic
  • supervising a learner driver
  • driving a car that automatically switches the engine off when you stop moving.

The only exceptions come into play if you need to make a 999 call in an emergency where it’s unsafe to stop driving, or if you’re making a contactless payment in a vehicle that has stopped moving. Otherwise, it’s hands off those devices...and with good reason!

Recent statistics published by our colleagues at Think! reveal that you are 4 times more likely to crash if you use your phone at the wheel. And that’s not all: if you’re caught flouting the rules, you could get a fine of up to £1,000, 6 points on your licence and a driving ban. Try explaining that to your parents, your employer, or your college tutors…

Some tips and strategies to help

So, what can you do to avoid these terrible temptations? Here’s a few important strategies to consider:

  • Switch the phone off. If it’s not pinging there’s less motivation to look at it, right?
  • If you need to use your phone as a sat nav, use a dashboard holder or a windscreen mount so you can keep your hands off it while you’re driving
  • Always set the route on your sat nav before you start your journey. If you need to make adjustments on the way, stop in a safe place and switch your engine off
  • Put your phone in the glove compartment or stow it somewhere that’s out of reach. It’s really not worth fiddling with it when you should be focused on your driving
  • Bear in mind that the rules say that you must not use your phone, even if your engine is switched off at traffic lights or in a queue of traffic. Don’t get caught out!

Cracking the Code

That all for now, but before we go, remember that if you want to learn more, you can pick up a copy of The Highway Code.

Until next time…

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