satnav-no-sign

A change to the Law in England and Wales could result in you getting in trouble with the police next time you go on a road trip.

New laws governing the use of mobile phones while driving have come into play as of the start of March 2017, and given how common it is for people to use their smart phone as a sat-nav, it’s important to know what you can and can’t do.

While it’s been illegal to use your phone while at the wheel of a car for over a decade, significantly tougher penalties have been introduced by authorities. Motorists caught using their phone while driving will now face a £200 fine and six penalty points – enough for an outright ban for anybody who passed their test within two years of the offence.

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Under the new law, even if you’re using your phone as a sat-nav, if you touch it at all while the engine is on, you may be found to be breaking the law. You don’t have to be driving for this no touching rule to apply. It’s still applicable when the car is stationary, such as in a traffic jam. The new law clearly states that it is illegal to hold a phone to follow a map while driving.

A female police officer sitting in her police car, using the computer. It is nighttime and the emergency lights on her vehicle are flashing.

Policewoman sitting in patrol car using computer

While using your phone in your hand is an obvious no-go, there is also a penalty for drivers using a hands free phone if they’re found to be not in control of the vehicle while using it. The fine for this offence is three points, and between £100 and £1000.

Using your phone as a sat-nav in a hands-free dock can also prove problematic. The law states that it is illegal to obscure the windscreen of the vehicle, so ensure that any dock you use, be that for a phone or a regular sat-nav doesn’t get in your line of site on the road.

So, next time you’re hitting the road on an adventure, make sure you stay the right side of the law. Ideally lock your phone away in the glove box, and use a sat nav sensibly to find your way.

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