A person using a phone while driving a car

Nottinghamshire police are warning motorists that new mobile phone laws are to be introduced on 25 March.

Using a hand-held device to text or make a phone call while driving is already forbidden (unless in an emergency). Legislation will make it illegal for drivers to use their phones to shoot photos or videos, listen to music or play games.

This will mean anyone caught using their hand-held device while driving will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence.

Drivers will still be able to continue using a device hands-free while driving, such as a sat-nav, if it is secured in a cradle. They must, however, always take responsibility for their driving and can be charged with an offence if the police find them not to be in proper control of their vehicle.

Inspector Clare Gibson

Inspector Clare Gibson, of Nottinghamshire Police’s serious collision investigation unit, said: “We know how tempting it can be to use your phone or respond to a call or notification whilst driving – but doing so can have very serious consequences.”

She added: “Please don’t make us have to knock on any more doors to tell people that their loved ones have been killed or seriously injured. Keep both hands in the wheel and give the road your full attention. That text, email or music change can always wait a little longer.”

Baroness Charlotte Vere of Norbiton, Minister for Roads, Buses and Places, praised the news in a Tweet, calling the law change “vital”.

The law will also become tougher as the use of smartwatches, tablets and laptops behind the wheel will apply. It is currently illegal to text or make a phone call, other than in an emergency, using a hand-held device while driving.

The government announced in 2021 that it would tighten the rules on the use of mobile phones.

Edmund King, president of The AA, said: “The AA has long campaigned to toughen up these rules and we welcome this announcement.”

The RAC said: “We strongly welcome the government’s strengthening of the law on hand-held mobile phone use behind the wheel. As our phones have become more sophisticated, the law has not kept pace and this has allowed some drivers who have been using their handheld phones for purposes other than communicating to exploit a loophole and avoid the maximum penalty.

  • the government is strengthening existing laws, making it illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving under virtually any circumstance
  • public consultation found that 81% of people supported such a move
  • the Highway Code will change, making it clear that hand-held phone use at traffic lights or in traffic jams is illegal

The Department for Transport has published a study by Ipsos Mori about drivers who use mobile phones while driving.

Among other findings, the study found that younger motorists are more likely to have used a handheld device behind the wheel, which supports the focus of the government’s award-winning THINK! campaign, which works to improve road safety by targeting higher-risk, younger motorists and road users.