Major driving law change set for next month will fine drivers £200 for using mobile phone

New laws will toughen the rules surrounding the use of mobile phones when driving, raising the price of fines to £200. It was previously thought that the new driving laws would be introduced alongside other major changes to the Highway Code on January 29.

The Department for Transport has confirmed that the rule changes will be taking place on March 25, with the necessary legislation now making its way through Parliament.

Baroness Charlotte Vere of Norbiton, Minister for Roads, Buses and Places, praised the news in a tweet, calling the law change “vital”.

She wrote: “We’re one step closer to making almost ANY use of a handheld mobile phone behind the wheel illegal.

“Today, we laid documents in Parliament which will bring about this vital measure.

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“The law will also become tougher as the use of smartwatches, tablets and laptops behind the wheel will apply.

“Drivers will be extremely limited on when they can pick up their phone, mainly to call the emergency services when there was no opportunity to safely pull over and to make contactless payments at drive-thrus.

“Being sat in a traffic jam or waiting at the lights is not an excuse, we want people to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.”

The Government says that drivers will still be able to continue using a device ‘hands-free’ while driving, such as a sat-nav, if it’s secured in a cradle.

Anyone caught using their hand-held device while driving will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence.

It also outlined what counts as drivers using their phone, including simple actions like illuminating the screen, checking the time or checking notifications.

More obvious actions including drafting a text, sending, receiving or uploading a photo or video and accessing the internet will be banned.

Other actions include: unlocking the device; making, receiving, or rejecting a telephone or internet based call; sending, receiving or uploading oral or written content; utilising camera, video, or sound recording functionality; accessing any stored data such as documents, books, audio files, photos, videos, films, playlists, notes or messages; and accessing an application.