Get caught using your mobile phone while driving and you’ll get six points on your licence and a £200 fine – and it doesn’t matter if you were talking, texting or using the satnav app.
That means if you’ve only passed your test within two years it’s an instant ban.
The law makes it clear: use a mobile phone behind the wheel while the engine is running and you’re committing a criminal offence.
The satnav on your mobile phone, or Google Maps and Citymapper can be supremely useful.
But touch your phone while the engine is running – even if you're stationary in traffic – and you’re breaking the law.
Using your phone illegally behind the wheel is dangerous – but using it legally isn’t practical.
So what can you do?
Pre-programme your phone.
According to the AA, while it’s an offence to be seen using a handheld phone, regardless of whether driving has been affected, this is not the case for hands-free phones.
However, if you’re seen not to be in control of a vehicle while using a hands-free phone you can be prosecuted for that offence.
The penalties for ‘not in proper control’ are a £100 fine and 3 points and up to £1,000 fine if it goes to court.
Make sure you set up your phone properly to use as hands-free before you set off and, if you need to touch your phone at any point during your journey, pull over to do so.
To display your mobile phone so you can hear it while driving, and so you can follow instructions without being too distracted, most drivers will place the handset into a holder which can be attached to the windscreen.
But if police deem this to be obstructing your view, it can count against you.
Under the Highway Code, drivers are required to keep windscreens clear.
You can buy holders which attach to your air vents, eliminating this problem.
If in doubt...
Think you won’t be able to go the whole journey without touching your phone?
Shut it in the glove compartment – it’s better to be safe than sorry.
And maybe get the old satnav out for good measure.
If you need to make or take a call
The AA guidance is to leave it to go to voicemail - even if you have a hands-free phone - or to pull over.
If you do use a hands-free phone to talk, keep conversations short and simple or find a safe and legal place to stop and phone them back.