Number of drivers caught using their phones doubles in a year

A man texting while he’s behind the wheel of a car

Even holding your phone while you’re behind the wheel is illegal now

In March 2022 the law changed so that drivers could be stopped for using their phone behind the wheel for any reason, not just calling someone. The number of people caught using their phone behind the wheel has risen dramatically for one specific reason. 

Dashcam ‘detectives’ catch criminals 

The rise in personal dashcams has meant that more drivers are being caught using their phones behind the wheel. AA data shows police forces across the UK are receiving more evidence than ever in the form of dashcam footage showing people driving dangerously or engaging in illegal behaviour, such as using their phone while driving.  

This contributed to a significant raise in fixed penalty notices issued for mobile phone use between 2021 and 2022, the year the law changed. In 2021, 19,600 drivers were caught using handheld devices while driving. This number rose by 93% in 2022, and 38,000 drivers were caught using handheld devices while driving.  

What happens if you get caught using your phone behind the wheel? 

You can be stopped or fined for multiple things, not just calling someone. If you’re taking pictures or videos, scrolling through a music playlist, texting, using your sat nav or anything else that requires your phone to physically be in your hand you could get into trouble.  

Drivers can face a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence if they’re caught using their phone or another handheld device while they’re driving. 

Since 2003 it’s been an offence to use a handheld device while driving. But the law has had to be tightened several times due to loopholes around not using the device for ‘interactive communication’. Now, however, it’s illegal to even hold a mobile or other handheld device while driving, including when you’re stopped at traffic lights. 

If you’d like to know more about 2022 law changes, check out our blog on the 2022 Highway Code update. 

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