Motorists now face hefty fines and licence penalties for using mobile phones illegally at the wheel after the UK government said that it was adopting a “zero-tolerance approach” on the issue.
As of 25th March, drivers will now be deemed to be breaking the law if they scroll through songs and podcasts on streaming apps, play games, and undertake any other non-communicative actions while holding mobile devices.
The government has decided to update the law after a man was able to overturn a conviction in 2019 after he argued that he was not using his device to communicate.
Any driver who is now caught using a handheld device could receive a £1,000 fine, six points on their licence and a potential driving ban.
The rules, which already cover actions such as making calls and texts, also apply to any drivers who have stopped briefly at lights or are backed up in traffic.
Moving forward, motorists are advised to set up devices in cradles beforehand so that they can use them ‘hands-free’.
While drivers can use phones as sat-navs when secured in a cradle, they can still be charged if the police believe that they are not in full control of the vehicle.
The new laws came into effect last week after 81% of people said that they support the more stringent proposals in a public consultation.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that it was vital to “keep road users safe”, while AA president Edmund King said that using a mobile phone while driving should be viewed in the same way as drink driving.
King added: “The best thing to do is to convert your glovebox into a phone box. We all need to keep our hands on the wheel and our eyes on the road.”