The current state of mobile phone laws

In the modern age, lots of people are almost glued to their phones, and with this being the case it is important that we all understand exactly what is and isn’t legal when it comes to using your phone in a car. One thing that criminal lawyers in Glasgow have to deal with frequently is mobile phone crime. We have put together some information about what you need to know.

Using hands-free devices

The only way that you are able to take calls on a mobile phone while behind the wheel of a car is if it is set up to be completely hands free. By this, the law states that you are not even allowed to touch your phone to accept or make a call – this must be done either using the button on your steering wheel if you are in an appropriate vehicle, or by using voice recognition on your phone. You are not allowed to touch your phone at all while you are driving, and doing so could cause you to be pulled up by the police.

Using your phone as a sat-nav

Some cars have sat-navs built in these days, but if yours doesn’t then you may wish to use one that you can plug in instead. Mobile phones often come with map apps that can be used for exactly this purpose, however you need to be careful with how these are being used. Similar to the point above, you are not allowed to touch your phone when driving, so all programming needs to be done before you set off. In addition, it will need to be placed in a holster like any other sat-nav would. If you need to do anything to the settings while en-route, you will need to pull over safely to do this. You will be breaking the law if you try to touch buttons or settings on your phone while you are still driving.

Can I use a phone if I’m stuck in traffic?

You may think that if you’re not moving, for example if you are stuck in traffic or waiting at traffic lights, that it is okay to use your phone. This is not the case however, and if you are on the road with your engine running it is still against the law. This is even the case if your car has start-stop technology, and the only way that it is acceptable to use your phone while behind the wheel is if you are pulled over and your engine is switched off.

What happens if I am caught using my phone behind the wheel?

The current penalty for using your phone behind the wheel of a car is £200, plus six points on your license. This is a significant amount if you already have points – as you are only allowed 12 points before you lose your license completely. If you have been driving for anything less than two years, you will lose your license, as you can only hold 6 points as a new driver.

No matter what the reason is that you might be using your mobile phone behind the wheel, the laws are in place because of the fact that mobile phone use while driving is dangerous, and is responsible to a high number of accidents each year. When you think about what you have to lose – not least your life or your driving license – it makes a lot of sense to learn as much as possible about driving laws to make sure you can remain on the right side of them.