Home Somerset rules Driving law on how you use phone or sat nav in car as legal ‘loophole’ closes

Driving law on how you use phone or sat nav in car as legal ‘loophole’ closes

0

Holding a phone or sat-nav while driving is now an offense under a rule change – drivers are warned. The law means motorists – or motorcyclists – must not use a hand-held device for any reason, whether online or offline.

In other words, you should not send text messages, make calls, take photos or videos, or browse the web. The rule change closes a loophole that some drivers could have exploited to avoid being fined or facing penalty points.

Previously, the law only applied to so-called “interactive communications”, such as making a call, as it was written before cell phones could be used for more complicated tasks, such as taking videos. Previously, people caught using their mobile phones while driving have sometimes been able to escape conviction by claiming they were not using them for interactive communication.

Read more:All the Somerset roadworks that could affect your trip this week

And while the rules for using phones while driving are now clearer, some people have wondered what this means for the use of sat nav. Responding to one such motorist on Twitter last week, South Wales Police advised: “If you use a phone or GPS when driving, you must have hands-free access.” The Durham Roads Police Unit has also listed “using your phone as a sat nav if the device is cradled” as permitted use, Bristol Live reports.

The government guidelines add: “You can use devices with hands-free access, as long as you do not hold them at any time during use. Hands-free access means the use of, for example, a Bluetooth headset , voice command, dashboard mount or floor mat, windshield mount or built-in sat nav, but the device must not block your view of the road and traffic in front of you.”

Using a dash- or windshield-mounted sat-nav is still legal, but if someone were to detach the device and hold it – perhaps to change your route or disable navigation – that would not be allowed. The law still applies to you if you are: stopped at traffic lights; queuing in traffic; supervising a learner driver; drive a car that cuts the engine when you stop moving; hold and use a device offline or in airplane mode.

The exceptions only apply if: you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it is unsafe or impossible to stop; you are parked safely; you make a contactless payment in a vehicle that is not in use, for example in a restaurant with drive-through service; or you use the device to park your vehicle remotely. The law states that you must maintain full control of your vehicle at all times.

The police can arrest you if they think you are out of control because you are distracted and you may be prosecuted. You can get six penalty points and a £200 fine if you hold and use a phone, sat nav, tablet or any other device capable of sending and receiving data while driving or driving a car. motorbike.

You will also lose your license if you have passed your driving test within the last two years. You can get three penalty points if you don’t have a full view of the road and traffic in front of you or if you don’t control the vehicle properly.

Read more: Crossing on ‘dangerous’ Somerset road branded as ‘waste of money’

You can also be taken to court where you risk a driving or road ban, or a fine of up to £1,000 – up to £2,500 if you drive a lorry or bus.