Mobile phones have become an integral part of our lives in today’s fast-paced world. However, their use while driving can pose significant risks, not only to the driver but also to other road users. To address this concern, the United Kingdom has implemented strict laws regarding using a mobile phone while driving.

Laws on Mobile Phone Use

In the UK, the use of mobile phones while driving is governed by The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2003 and The Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA).

According to these regulations, using a handheld mobile phone while driving or even when stopped with the engine on (such as at a traffic light) is illegal. The law applies to all drivers, including those riding motorcycles, and extends to using the phone for calls, texts, social media, or any other interactive communication.

This prohibition applies not only when the vehicle is in motion but also when it’s stationary. Using a handheld device is strictly forbidden whether you’re stopped at traffic lights, stuck in traffic, or supervising a learner driver. Even if your car has a fancy feature that turns off the engine when stationary, the law expects you to keep your hands off your device.

Exceptions to the Law

While using handheld devices while driving is generally prohibited in the UK, there are a few exceptions. These include:

  • Emergency Calls: You can use a handheld device to call emergency services (999 or 112) if it’s unsafe, impractical, or impossible to stop your vehicle.
  • Safely Parked: A handheld device is allowed if your vehicle is safely parked with the engine off and the parking brake engaged.
  • Contactless Payments: Making contactless payments using a handheld device is permitted when the vehicle is stationary, such as at a drive-through.
  • Remote Parking: You can park your vehicle remotely using a handheld device.

Remember, even within these exceptions, prioritise road safety and avoid unnecessary distractions while driving.


The penalties for using a mobile phone while driving in the UK are severe. If caught, drivers can face the following:

Fixed Penalty Notice

This includes a £200 fine and six penalty points on the driving license. Penalty points can lead to disqualification if a driver accumulates 12 or more within a three-year period.


If the case goes to court, drivers can face a maximum fine of £1,000 (or £2,500 for drivers of goods vehicles or buses), discretionary disqualification, and an endorsement of three to six penalty points.

New Drivers

The penalties are even stricter for drivers who have held a full driving license for less than two years. If caught using a mobile phone while driving within the first two years of passing the driving test, the driver’s license will be revoked, requiring them to retake both the theory and practical tests.

Awareness and Enforcement

The UK government, alongside various organisations and road safety campaigns, consistently works to raise awareness about the dangers of using mobile phones while driving. Stringent enforcement measures are in place to discourage this risky behaviour.

Police officers employ various methods, such as high-profile patrols, technology-enabled surveillance, and public education campaigns, to catch offenders and deter others from engaging in this dangerous practice.

Final Thoughts

Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal in the UK and has severe penalties. Drivers must understand and abide by the law to ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road.

By raising awareness about the legal perspective surrounding mobile phone use while driving, we can collectively work towards reducing accidents and creating safer roads for everyone. Remember, when driving, it’s best to keep your hands on the wheel, and your attention focused on the road ahead.