By Jenny Chamberlain
From March 2022 anyone driving in the UK are subject to new rules. Since 2013 it’s been illegal to makes calls or use your phone for any interactive communication i.e. text messages, messaging apps or accessing the internet.
Following cases of drivers escaping prosecution for using phones for other purposes while driving, such as taking pictures, using music apps, using a phone as a sat nav the law has been updated to ban all forms of mobile phone use unless a driver is safely parked. Basically, this means it is now an offense to hand hold a device regardless of why whilst driving or if you are a passenger looking after a learner driver. Not only has the government officially changed the law, but they have also implemented new fines and charges should anyone be caught on their devices in a car.
The law does allow you use a phone if you have hands-free access, which means you can use a Bluetooth headset ,use voice commands and use a touch screen as long as the phone is held in a secure mount on the dashboard or windscreen and does not obstruct the road ahead. for For us with cars with no built in sat nav this does mean we can use our phone’s built-in ‘sat nav’ if the phone is securely mounted. See below for suggestions. This doesn’t stop being charged if you are found by the police not to be in full charge of the car.
In an emergency when you are required to dial 999 or 112 there is an exemption as well as paying contactless whilst being stationary – for example a toll booth or drive through café and being parked safely. The other exemption is using your mobile to park your car remotely – unlikely with our cars!!
So, the must nots for drivers with handheld devices whether on or offline are in summary: making calls, sending chat messages, taking photos or videos or browsing the web, using a sat nav. This still applies if you are stopped at traffic lights, queuing in traffic, driving a car were the engine turns off when you stop moving, supervising a learner driver, or holding and using a device that’s offline or in ‘flight mode’
Penalties. You can get 6 penalty points and a £200 fine if you hold and use a phone, sat nav, tablet, or any device that can send and receive data while driving or riding a motorcycle. If you passed your test in the last 2 years you will lose your license. You can get 3 penalty points if you do not have a full view of the road and traffic ahead or proper control of the vehicle. You can also be taken to court where you can be banned from driving and or get a maximum fine of £1,000 (£2,500 if you’re driving a lorry or bus)
So, what are the options for a hands free device for the cars we drive
The first is a magnetic device – the Ranvoo- has proved popular as has the Brodit Cradle (proclip) which is a fixed device with tonneau mounting 'poppers' spaced 2 1/2 inches (63.5mm) apart, and the bracket has slotted mounting holes to allow for slight variation in spacing.
So whether visiting the UK or a native driver be aware and take care.