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Using Smart Phones and Driving – What You Need to Know

We all know by now that texting and making calls on your mobile phone while driving is illegal and extremely dangerous, however a new law in the UK banning mobile phone use completely could catch you out. 

Smart Phones in Cars

Many of us use our mobile phones as a means of satellite navigation, Sat Nav. It is pretty common to get in the car and a mile or so down the road to begin tapping in the destination address into your phone. However with much stricter laws in place, as of March 2017, it is important to know what drivers can and can’t do in regards to their smart phones. 

Smart Phones in Cars – What You Need to Know:
  • If you touch your phone while the engine is on, you are breaking the law (even if you are using it as a Sat Nav). 
  • You could face a fine of £200
  • You could be awarded 6 penalty points (for a new driver, this could mean an outright ban)
  • The new laws still apply when the car is stationary or in a traffic-jam.
  • The law states it is illegal to hold a phone to follow a map, when driving.
What about using a hands-free dock?

This can also prove to be problematic, for example you may risk a fine if you are deemed to not be in control of your vehicle while using a hands-free phone. In addition, if your hands-free is thought to be obscuring your view of the road you could be in trouble. Fines range from £100-£1000 and three points on your licence.

Tips for staying on the right side of the law when using your phone as a Sat Nav:
  • Invest in a dock, holder or cradle to avoid handling the phone whilst driving
  • Put your destination into your phone BEFORE you begin driving
  • If you need to alter the route or re-programme the Sat Nav, pull over and do this somewhere safe.
  • A holder that slips into the air vent is the best option (this avoids a potential obstruction of vision on the windscreen)
And if you are not planning on using your smart phone as a Sat Nav, whilst driving then the best advice is to put it out of sight. This avoids the temptation of looking at it while driving or feeling the need to respond to it in anyway. Smart phones are part of our everyday lives, but we need to remember that they are not safe to use when driving with the AA reporting that we are twice as likely to crash text driving as we are drink driving. 
Chloe Demaret
Posted: May 03, 2017 by Chloe Demaret
About the Author -

Travel writer, social media guru, Chloe keeps our readers and customers up to speed with all the car rental and travel trends on our blog. Favourite destination: Dubai.

Last updated: Monday, September 11, 2017
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