Mobiles in the car FAQs

phone in car

The changes in the law regarding mobile phone use has indeed halved the number of offences. This is great news and we are sure that this change must have also saved lives. However, there is still a lot of confusion as to what you can and cannot do with your mobile behind the wheel.  So, we aim to answer those frequently asked questions surrounding the use of a mobile in the car.

Can you use a phone as a sat-nav?

You need to program the route into the phone before you set off. Should you need to make changes to the settings or route, then pull over into a safe place before your touch the phone. Make sure to have plenty of battery or plug it in, as your phone can use a lot of battery up with navigation.

Can you change your music while driving?

You can listen to music as you drive, but you will need to have setup the playlist before setting off, as again if changing settings or tracks means touching the phone, you may only do if you are parked up safely. Also, although driving with both earbuds in does not have a specific law, it is inadvisable and could result in being considered a driving without due care and attention offence.

Can I read a text as it flashes up on screen?

Just reading a text, will be a distraction to your driving, and you could be tempted to reply. So, leave it until you are safely parked. Probably best to turn off notifications until you reach your destination.

What are the current penalties for hand-held mobile phone offences

Since March 2017 the fine is £200 plus you get 6 points. You will also lose your licence, if you have only passed within the previous two years. If you are driving a lorry or bus, then you could also be fined up to £2500.

Can I call 999 or 112?

Yes, if you need to make the call in an emergency and it is unsafe or impractical to stop.

What if I am stopped in traffic, can I call home to let them know I’ll be late?

Nope, not even if in tailbacks stretching for miles. This also applies at traffic lights. Why not invest in a hands-free kit? You will be able to call then.

Can a passenger use the phone?

Yes, unless they are supervising you as a learner driver, in which case, they are classed as if they are driving too.

Is it ok to use my voice to command the phone?

Yes, this is a form of hands-free. The phone should be cradled on the dashboard or windscreen and either using a Bluetooth headset, earpiece, or voice command to control the phone.