Although most of us know that it isn’t safe to use a mobile phone while driving, it can still be confusing as to what is legal and what isn’t when it comes to using a phone. For example, many people like to use their mobiles phones as a sat nav while driving – is this okay, or will you get in trouble just as much as if you were texting a friend or reading an email? Here, we aim to make those blurred lines as clear as possible so you know exactly what is ok and what isn’t.
Providing you have hands free access to your mobile, for the most part, this is ok. Even if you are using a sat nav, it needs to be hands-free. You will get into a lot of trouble if you’re holding the phone in your hand, for whatever reason. Some of your options include:
- a bluetooth headset
- voice command
- a dashboard holder or mat
- a windscreen mount
- a built-in sat nav
However, that isn’t all. You also need to be sure that if you mount the device to your screen, that it isn’t blocking the view of the road ahead. The rules also apply in the following cases:
- You are stopped at traffic lights
- You are queuing in traffic
- You are supervising a learner driver
The road must have your full attention at all times. While you are in control of a vehicle, even if you’re at a standstill, using your phone is not ok and could cost a life.
When Can You Use A Hand Held Phone?
If you absolutely must use your handheld phone, you will need to wait until you’re safely parked. Most people don’t wait until this point, and this is why most end up contacting places like The Levin Firm to help them with a distracted driving case, or something even more serious. The only other time you can use your phone while driving is if you need to call the emergency services and it is unsafe or impractical to stop the car.
If you use your phone outside of these rules, you will get a monetary fine and points on your license. To put it more clearly: you can not use a handheld phone behind the wheel while your engine is on. Tougher penalties are being introduced all the time, as many motorists still seem to think that the law does not apply to them. In some places, new drivers (drivers who have passed within a few years) automatically lose their license. If you adjust your route on your phone sat nav app while driving, for example, even if you’re stationary in traffic, you can still technically get into trouble. It could be best to leave your phone in the glovebox and use an old-fashioned sat nav instead.
Remember, if you seem distracted for whatever reason even while using a hands-free phone, you will still get into trouble. You need to have control over the vehicle at all times.
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