The Highway Code: update to rules on using mobile phones

From today (25 March), rules in The Highway Code are coming into force to make any hand-held use of a mobile phone while driving illegal, except in limited circumstances.

The changes were supported by 80% of respondents in a public consultation in 2021.

This means you must not use a device in your hand for any reason, whether online or offline. The law applies to you if you’re:

  • supervising a learner driver
  • stopped at traffic lights
  • queuing in traffic
  • driving a car that turns the engine off when you stop moving
  • holding and using a device that’s offline or in flight mode

There are exceptions, such as if you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency or making a contactless payment in a vehicle that is not moving.

You can find the full rules on using a phone, sat nav or another device when driving on GOV.UK

The government’s award-winning THINK! team will launch an awareness campaign today to remind drivers not to use a hand-held phone at the wheel and the penalties of choosing to ignore this new law.

Why staying up to date is important

It’s important that everyone – not just learner drivers – understand their responsibility for the safety of other road users.

Many of the rules in the code are legal requirements, and if you disobey these rules you’re committing a criminal offence.

If you do not follow the other rules in the code, it can be used in evidence in court proceedings to establish liability.

How to stay up to date

The full version of The Highway Code is available, free of charge, on GOV.UK. 

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