Mobile phones

Using a handheld mobile phone while driving is illegal. It has been since 2003. From 1 March, the penalties for holding and using your phone while driving increased. It’s now 6 points and £200.

It is not illegal to use hands free, but any time a driver’s attention is not on the road can be dangerous.

The facts

  • Drivers using a hands-free or handheld mobile phone are slower at recognising and reacting to hazards.
  • Research shows:
    • You are four times more likely to be in a crash if you use your phone. Read research report
    • Your reaction times are two times slower if you text and drive than if you drink drive, and this increases to three times if you use a handheld phone. Read research report
  • Even careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text – and a split-second lapse in concentration could result in a crash.

The law

  • It's illegal to use a handheld mobile when driving. This includes using your phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media. This applies even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
  • It is also illegal to use a handheld phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver.
  • You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.
  • If you’re caught using a handheld phone while driving, you’ll get 6 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200. Points on your licence will result in higher insurance costs.
  • If you get just 6 points in the first two years after passing your test, you will lose your licence.
  • Using hands free (e.g. for navigation) is not illegal. However, if this distracts you and affects your ability to drive safely, you can still be prosecuted by the police.

Mobile phones and drivingOpens new window

THINK! advice



Put your phone away before driving so you won’t be tempted to use it. Make the glove compartment the phone compartment.

Don't call other people when they're driving.

Use hands free devices responsibly.

Make a pledge



It's difficult to resist the temptation to pick up your phone when you're driving - even though it's illegal. But as soon as you take your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel you're putting yourself and others at risk.

We're proud to be supporting the RAC's Be Phone Smart campaign that encourages drivers to make an online pledge not use their handheld phone while driving. Make your promise