Friday saw stringent new rules come into effect across the UK as drivers will now be fined for touching a mobile phone while behind the wheel in “virtually any circumstance.” The fine is up to £1,000 and six points on a licence.
But anyone caught using a phone in the car while supervising a learner driver will also be fined under the new rules.
That means if the law deems that you’re technically supervising another driver, you could be hit with a £200 and six points on your licence even as a passenger.
The new rules apply to anyone even touching the front of a phone screen to check the time unless it’s in a holder.
Drivers are also exempt if they’re using a phone to pay for food in a drive-thru queue.
Despite the obvious danger, this loophole allowed users to continue using their phones while driving.
It is believed that the delay in introducing the new law meant that up to 256,000 drivers escaped hefty fines.
To help enforce the new rules, roadside cameras with the ability to automatically detect drivers touching their mobile phones are to be installed nationwide.
These cameras can take clear images of fast-moving vehicles, making it much more difficult for motorists to avoid being caught.
A trial of these cameras recorded one in 200 drivers using their phones on the motorway.
This amounts to over 4,600 motorists per day who have been able to use their hand-held devices without consequence when driving.
Ryan Fulthorpe, car insurance expert at GoCompare, said: “The purpose of these laws is to ensure the safety of drivers and other road users.
“However, where loopholes exist, we encourage motorists to act in ways that do not distract their attention from the road.
“Four to six points on your licence can increase the cost of an insurance policy by an average of 56 percent, but there is much more at stake with dangerous driving – putting the safety of you and others around you at risk.
“We welcome all support from the Government in making the roads safer by outlawing dangerous driving practices and we also urge all drivers to abide by these rules and practice sensible driving.”
Drivers will now be deemed to be breaking the law if they use a mobile phone for “any use”, including taking photos, recording videos, scrolling through music playlists and playing games.
The new laws were proposed in parliament in November 2021, following a public consultation in which 81 percent of respondents supported tougher measures.