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New rules for smartphone usage while driving have been introduced in the UK. It means that drivers who hold their phone cannot escape through a loophole which prevented offenders being prosecuted for things like taking a selfie or filming.

Currently, the law only covers people who call or send a text message while behind the wheel. This is set to be updated in Spring 2020 in order to "bring the law into the 21st Century".

Illegal use of a smartphone while driving

The updated legislation means you can now be prosecuted for the following smartphone actions while behind the wheel of a car.

  • Making a phone call
  • Sending a text message (including WhatsApp messaging and emails)
  • Browsing the internet (including social media)
  • Taking photos
  • Filming
  • Scrolling through a playlist

It's also a criminal offence to use a mobile phone while driving without being connected to a hands-free device.

Drivers who break any of the above rules could be hit with a £200 fine and 6 penalty points on their licence - meaning young drivers could lose their licence if caught just once.

taking-a-selfie

The risks of smartphone usage

The laws are now much clearer - you cannot use social media, browse the internet or take a selfie while driving.

Our previous study clearly demonstrates the risk of using a mobile phone while driving, as even taking your eyes off the road for just three seconds in order to check a text message will mean that you've travelled 54 metres (177 feet), or more than three standard bowling lanes.

Taking a selfie is even more fraught with danger - do that at 60 mph and you'll have driven the length of more than six Olympic swimming pools without looking where you're going.

Read Smartphone Driving Distractions Visualised for further information.