Legal update: New mobile phone laws for drivers and riders in 2022

Man using a mobile phone in car

New mobile phone laws relating to drivers and riders are coming into place this year. Some changes already came into effect alongside other amendments to the Highway Code on 29 January, while others – which ban drivers from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists, or play games – come into force from 25 March.


Why is the law changing?

The government announced late last year that it would tighten rules on the use of mobile phones, making it illegal to use a hand-held device under virtually any circumstance while driving. It was already illegal to text or make a phone call (other than in an emergency) using a hand-held device while driving, but now other actions like taking photos are also illegal.


What does the law now say?

It’s illegal to hold a mobile phone while driving or riding a motorcycle. A mobile can only be used through hands-free access, such as:

  • bluetooth headsets
  • voice commands
  • dashboard holders or mats
  • windscreen mounts
  • built-in sat nav and systems (integral to the vehicle)

Drivers using these devices have to make sure that they don’t block their view of the road and traffic ahead with them.

And even with these devices fitted, road users must always stay in control of their vehicle, or they risk being stopped by the police.

The law still applies if you’re:

  • stopped at traffic lights
  • queuing in traffic
  • supervising a learner driver


When you can use a hand-held phone

You can use a hand-held phone if:

  • you’re safely parked
  • you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop


What are the penalties for breaking the new law?

If you use a hand-held phone when driving:

  • you can get six penalty points and a £200 fine
  • you’ll also lose your licence if you passed your driving test in the last two years

You can get three penalty points if you don’t have a full view of the road and traffic ahead or proper control of the vehicle.

You can also be taken to court – which could lead to:

  • a ban from driving or riding
  • a maximum fine of £1,000 (£2,500 if you’re driving a lorry or bus)


What employers need to do

These changes aren’t just important for individual drivers. It’s also important that you as an employer – particularly if your employees drive on business – are aware of them and make sure your employees are aware of them, too.

So, you should:

  • make sure that your driving risk assessments are updated and reflect these changes
  • consult with employees who drive on business and make them aware of the changes
  • if detailed within any policies, make sure that any references to mobile phones reflect the changes


Drive your compliance success with Citation

If you’re already a Citation client and you have any questions about the new law changes, simply call our advice line on 0345 844 4848.

If you’re not already a Citation client, we’d recommend partnering with us for total peace of mind with your legal obligations. From Health & Safety to HR & Employment Law, Citation is here to help keep your business compliant at all times.

Our experts are available 24/7 on our advice line to talk you through any questions, concerns or issues you may have, and our online platform, Atlas, makes it easy to meet best-practice standards for risk assessments, policies, handbooks, method statements, and more – and store them all in one handy online location.

If you’re interested in partnering with Citation, simply call 0345 844 1111 or fill out the form on this page.

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