As of 25th March 2022, new mobile phone laws have come into force. Following on from amendments to the Highway Code from 29th January 2022, the new laws now ban drivers from using phones in virtually any circumstance.
Why is the law changing?
Towards the end of 2021, the Government announced that it would tighten rules on the use of mobile phones. In doing so, it has now been made illegal to use a hand-held device under nearly any circumstance while driving. While it was already illegal to text or make a phone call, other than in an emergency, it is now also against the law for drivers to touch their device, take photos or videos, access playlists or use other apps while they drive.
What do the new mobile phone laws mean?
It’s illegal to hold a mobile phone while driving or riding a motorcycle. A mobile can only be used through hands-free access, such as:
- Built-in sat nav and systems (integral to the vehicle)
- Dashboard holders or mats
- Bluetooth headsets
- Voice commands
- Windscreen mounts
Drivers using these devices must make sure that they don’t block their view of the road and traffic ahead with them.
Plus, even with these devices fitted, road users must always stay in control of their vehicle, or they risk being stopped by the police.
Importantly, the law still applies if you are:
- Supervising a learner driver
- Stopped at traffic lights
- Queuing in traffic
So, when you can use a hand-held phone?
- You are safely parked
- You need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop
What are the penalties for breaking the new law?
- You can get six penalty points and a £200 fine
- You’ll also lose your licence if you passed your driving test in the last two years
- You can get three penalty points if you don’t have a full view of the road and traffic ahead or proper control of the vehicle.
- You can also be taken to court – which could lead to:
- a ban from driving or riding
- a maximum fine of £1,000 (£2,500 if you’re driving a lorry or bus)
Advice to employers:
While these changes are very important for individual drivers, it’s also vital that you as an employer – particularly if your employees drive on business – are aware of them and make sure your employees are aware of them, too.
- Consult with employees who drive on business and make them aware of the changes
- Make sure that your driving risk assessments are updated and reflect these changes
- if detailed within any policies, make sure that any references to mobile phones reflect the changes
For further HR support and advice, do contact our expert HR team >>