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Hands on the wheel? Hands off your phone!

11 May 2022
A man sitting in car and glancing down at his phone to see text messages on his phone - there is some text across the image that reads 'Hands on the wheel? Hands off your phone.'

The change in The Highway Code came into force on Friday 25 March 2022. It is now illegal to use a handheld mobile phone behind the wheel for virtually anything, including taking photos or videos, scrolling through playlists or playing games. Using a handheld phone behind the wheel, could result in a fine of up to £1,000, six points on your licence, and a driving ban.

There are exceptions, such as if you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency or if you’re making a contactless payment at a drive-thru when the vehicle isn’t moving.

A device can be used as a handsfree sat-nav while driving as long as it’s secured in a cradle.

A new THINK! road safety campaign ‘Guardian Mates’ has been released to encourage people to help their mates avoid the temptation to pick up their phone while driving.

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Drivers must not use a device in their hand for any reason, whether online or offline. The law applies to those who are:

  • supervising a learner driver
  • stopped at traffic lights
  • queuing in traffic
  • driving a car that turns the engine off when you stop moving
  • holding and using a device that’s offline or in flight mode

You can find the full rules on using a phone, sat nav or another device when driving on GOV.UK


Staying up to date with the Highway Code

It's important that everyone – not just learner drivers – understand their responsibility for the safety of other road users.

Many of the rules in the code are legal requirements, so if road users disobey the rules, they are committing a criminal offence.

Not following the rules in the Highway Code can be used in evidence in court proceedings to establish liability.

The full version of The Highway Code is available, free of charge, on GOV.UK.