Can I continue to use my phone as a sat nav without a £200 fine?

A loophole in the law was closed in March, meaning people are finding it more difficult to use their phones while driving in most cases. There are few reasons left that result in people avoiding a fine

Man on the phone while driving
People can face hefty fines and points on their driver’s license for using their phone while driving

A new law is now in place which means holding and using a phone while driving is now illegal, including for sat nav.

Laws were already in place to prevent motorists from using their phones while driving or riding a motorcycle, but the loophole in the law was amended and closed on March 25.

The government has spelled out the law very clearly, saying: “It is illegal to hold and use a phone, GPS, tablet or any other device that can send or receive data while driving or riding a motorcycle.

“This means that you are not allowed to use a device in your hand for any reason, whether online or offline. For example, they are not allowed to text, make calls, take photos or videos, or surf the web.”

AA President Edmund King said: “This is a much-needed tightening of rules to make our roads safer.”

However, this does not mean that using your phone while driving is completely illegal. There are a few instances where you can, so what are those?

Can I use my phone while driving?

There are many devices that allow you to use your phone hands-free


(Getty Images)

There are still occasions when people can use their phone while driving, but it depends on how.

Holding the phone is not allowed and could harm drivers, passengers and people in other cars, as well as pedestrians.

Even if you try to circumvent the rules, the police can still stop you if they feel you are not in full control of your vehicle.

If you are found to be breaking the law you can get six penalty points and a £200 fine for using your phone.

The law applies not only to the use of phones, but “when you hold and use a phone, sat nav, tablet or other device capable of sending and receiving data while driving or riding a motorcycle.”

make calls

Make sure you have your hands free when making or receiving calls


Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

Of course, holding the phone while calling someone is illegal and makes you a hazard on the road, but calls can be made on the road if a hands-free headset is used.

You shouldn’t be holding your phone to answer the call, even if that means you can have it on your lap via speakers. Use a Bluetooth connection to your car to answer a call or connect your phone to the dashboard.


The law covers navigation devices or any device that receives data



Of course you need to be able to tell where you’re going and you can use your phone for the sat nav provided it’s hands-free.

Hands-free is a guideline for the following:

  • a Bluetooth headset
  • voice command
  • a dashboard holder or mat
  • a windshield mount
  • a built-in navigation system


The exception to the strict laws is only for emergency use



If it’s a real emergency, you can use 999 or 112 if “it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.”

Only keep these for genuine emergencies and assess the situation before using your phone – you may need to explain why you think it’s an emergency.

Other than that, there’s no reason to use your phone unless you’re using speakerphone.

Safely parked

Smart parking technology is not illegal when parking your car remotely by phone


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

When you stop and park safely, you can use your phone to quickly search your texts, scroll through your playlists, or check the soccer score.

The law also states that for cars with the right technology, you can use your phone to park your car remotely, as well as use it to make payments when using a drive-thru.

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Fry Electronics Team

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