The Highway Code: update to rules on using mobile phones

From today (25 March), rules in The Highway Code are coming into force to make any hand-held use of a mobile phone while driving illegal, except in limited circumstances.

The changes were supported by 80% of respondents in a public consultation in 2021.

This means you must not use a device in your hand for any reason, whether online or offline. The law applies to you if you’re:

  • supervising a learner driver
  • stopped at traffic lights
  • queuing in traffic
  • driving a car that turns the engine off when you stop moving
  • holding and using a device that’s offline or in flight mode

There are exceptions, such as if you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency or making a contactless payment in a vehicle that is not moving.

You can find the full rules on using a phone, sat nav or another device when driving on GOV.UK

The government’s award-winning THINK! team will launch an awareness campaign today to remind drivers not to use a hand-held phone at the wheel and the penalties of choosing to ignore this new law.

Why staying up to date is important

It's important that everyone – not just learner drivers – understand their responsibility for the safety of other road users.

Many of the rules in the code are legal requirements, and if you disobey these rules you’re committing a criminal offence.

If you do not follow the other rules in the code, it can be used in evidence in court proceedings to establish liability.