As the Bank Holiday weekend approaches, many of us will be heading off on a short break, but if you use your mobile phone as a Sat Nav, there is a really good chance you could be breaking the law!
On 1st March 2017, we saw the penalty double for using a mobile phone whilst driving to a £200 fine and six penalty points but did you know that this also applies to using your phone as a Sat Nav. The law clearly states that you can only use a hand-held device behind the wheel if you are safely parked, which does not include waiting in traffic or when sat at the traffic lights. The only exception to this is if you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.
Following a map on a hand-held mobile phone is illegal. The only circumstance in which you can follow a map using a mobile phone is if it’s fixed to the windscreen or dashboard, so that it is in clear view for use while driving, without requiring you to hold it. You would also need to set your journey, whilst safely parked with the engine switched off, and not touch your mobile phone at all throughout your journey.
If you are a new driver (a new driver is someone who has held their licence for less than 2 years) and you are caught using a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving, whether it be talking, texting or using the mobile phone illegally as a Sat Nav, you would lose your licence. Drivers are only allowed to clock up six penalty points in their first two years of driving, rather than the normal 12.
Even as an experienced driver, if the police deem it necessary, you can be taken to court and receive up to the maximum fine of £2,000, and even possibly disqualification.
If you are involved in an accident as a result of using a mobile phone whilst driving the penalties are much tougher with a longer disqualification and even imprisonment.
And even though hands-free kits are legal in the UK, the police can still stop you if they think you have been distracted using a hands-free kit whilst driving!
So if you are going to use your mobile phone as a Sat Nav this weekend, make sure that you are using it legally.
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