The new laws surrounding mobile phone usage in the UK are way too harsh in my opinion.
Being caught using a mobile phone while driving carries a penalty of six points and a £200 fine.
You are allowed to use a phone if it is fully hands-free – you’re not allowed to pick it up and operate it even momentarily.
It is no excuse to say you’re simply following the mapping on your hand-held device. The mobile phone law specifically refers to this, stating it is illegal to use a hand-held mobile to follow a map.
If you wish to use smartphone navigation or a mapping app, fix the phone to the windscreen or dashboard, so it’s in clear view for use while driving, without requiring you to hold it. This is, for example, what many private hire and taxi drivers do.
Contrary to what many drivers seem to think, the law still applies when your vehicle is stopped at lights or in a traffic queue. If your engine is running, your phone should be nowhere near your hands or eye line… More at RAC.
Now, I get that we should not be holding phones to our ears when driving and that often the only way to set a law is to aim at the fullest possible solution in order to avoid loopholes. However, I also remember travelling to meetings before sat naps arrived and spending ages referring to paper maps that were position on the passenger seat.
When used properly, a sat nav is MUCH safer than a paper map and it is also less distracting. It appears, however, that even if you come to a standstill you are not allowed to tap the screen twice to re-route yourself.
You can eat an apple, shout at your kids in the back seats (Are we there yet?!?), but you cannot even touch a phone. Yes, there are laws that mean you have to be aware of what you are doing at all times and you can be penalised to careless driving, but surely this particular law has gone too far and is an example of penalising people because a) some people (white van men?) blatantly use their phones while driving and b) it is new technology and some people in authority simply do not like such things.