Changes to law on using devices while driving

On Friday 25 March 2022, UK laws on using devices while driving were updated. It is now illegal to hold and use a phone, sat nav, tablet, or any device that can send or receive data, while driving or riding a motorcycle.

In this post we explain the changes to the law, and give our advice for employers.

Changes to the law

Online or offline devices in a driver’s hand must not be used while driving.

For example, drivers must not text, make calls, take photos or videos, or browse the web.

The law still applies if the driver is:

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

Handheld devices can be used if the driver:

  • needs to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop
  • is safely parked
  • is making a contactless payment in a vehicle that is not moving, for example at a drive-through restaurant
  • is using the device to park their vehicle remotely
Using devices hands-free

Drivers can use devices with hands-free access, as long as they do not hold them at any time during usage. Hands-free access means using, for example:

  • a Bluetooth headset
  • voice command
  • a dashboard holder or mat
  • a windscreen mount
  • a built-in sat nav

The device must not block the driver’s view of the road and traffic ahead.

Staying in full control of your vehicle

Drivers must stay in full control of their vehicle at all times. The police can stop drivers if they think they are not in control because they are distracted, and they can be prosecuted.


Drivers can get 6 penalty points and a £200 fine if they hold and use a phone, sat nav, tablet, or any device that can send and receive data while driving or riding a motorcycle.

They will also lose their licence if they passed their driving test in the last 2 years.

Drivers can get 3 penalty points if they do not have a full view of the road and traffic ahead or proper control of the vehicle.

Drivers can also be taken to court where they can:

Advice from SML
  • Your business’s Driving for Work and/or HR policies should have clear and up to date information on handheld devices while driving.
  • Even though the law states that hands-free devices can be used while driving, this is at the driver’s discretion. It is always safest to focus on driving and to not be distracted.

For any support with reviewing and updating your business’s Health and Safety policies and Risk Assessments, contact us today.

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