We all know that using your phone whilst driving is illegal and can result in you gaining 6 points on your licence as well as a hefty fine, but the rules around ‘hands-free’ can often blur the lines, resulting in drivers carrying out actions which they believe are safe and legal, but result in a law-breaking offence. So, what are the correct rules? Let’s take a look…
Of course, the safest option for yourself and other road users is to put your phone away. Your bag or glove compartment can be an ideal location to store your device whilst you’re on the road, keeping it out of eyesight and preventing you from taking a brief look at the screen to see who has just sent you that snapchat. However, we know that this isn’t always an option as often drivers need to use their phones for navigation purposes or to make or take an important phone call. This is where the world of hands-free comes in.
The laws around hands-free driving
As you might expect from the name, hands-free driving means that your phone or Sat-Nav device is secured in an appropriate place without obstructing your view and remains untouched throughout the entirety of your journey.
You can be caught for the simple act of touching your screen or manoeuvring the device itself if you are in a vehicle with the ignition switched on. If you find that you need to make contact with someone or fix the placement of your device, you must pull over into a safe space and switch your ignition off.
If you are accompanying a learner driver on the road, it is also illegal for you to partake in activity on your mobile device. You must follow the hands-free laws as though you are the driver yourself as road safety may be in your hands until your learner receives their full licence.
If the police have reason to believe you are being distracted by your mobile phone whilst on the road, even if you are following the hands-free rules, they have right to pull you over for questioning.
Are there any exceptions?
There are no loopholes when it comes to road safety and following the hands-free laws, except for if you need to contact emergency services on 999 or 112. If you need to carry out this action, you should still aim to reach a location where it is safe to pull over before using your device, but this is not always possible and so will be dismissed if caught.
Here at Lanes School of Driving, we have been supporting learners for over 100 years. For aid with rules of the road, driving lessons or after pass courses, get in touch with a member of our knowledgeable team who will be delighted to help. Call 020 8166 5678 or email today.