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
- 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.
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.