driving offences-mobile phone use while driving

Driving Offences – Mobile phone use

It is an offence to use a hand-held phone, or similar device, when driving.

If the use of your mobile phone results in the standard of your driving to fall below the required standard you may be charged with careless or even dangerous driving. Drivers (to include somebody supervising a provisional driver) also risk prosecution for failure to have proper control if they use hands-free phones when driving.

A hand-held device is something that is or must be held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call or performing any other interactive communication function.

A device is “similar” to a mobile phone if it performs an interactive communication function by transmitting and receiving data.  Examples of interactive communication functions are sending and receiving spoken or written messages, sending or receiving still or moving images and providing access to the internet.

Pushing buttons on a mobile while it is in a cradle for example is not an offence so long as you do not hold the phone. Texting whilst driving therefore is an offence if the phone (or other device) has to be held in order to operate it.

Use of devices other than mobile phones such as GPS’s whilst driving is only an offence if the device performs an interactive communication function by sending and receiving data.

There is an exemption for calls to 999 (or 112) in genuine emergencies where it is unsafe or impractical to stop.



If you accept a roadside fixed penalty notice, you will receive 6 points on your licence and a fine of £200. If a case goes to court, in addition to points, you could face discretionary disqualification on top of a maximum fine of £1,000 (or £2,500 in the case of drivers of buses/coaches and goods vehicles).

What is a mobile driving offence?

A mobile driving offence is an infringement of UK driving laws, defined as the act of using a mobile phone device whilst driving a vehicle. This offence can also be extended to the use of any interactive communication device and can result in legal proceedings. If a device is used at any point to send emails and texts or to access the internet, you can be charged with a mobile drive offence if caught. 

Is it an offence because whilst using a mobile device you are not in full control of your vehicle, endangering not only other drivers but yourself as well. A mobile driving offence may also be classified as careless or even dangerous driving.


What are the penalties for a mobile driving offence? 

The penalties for a mobile driving offence vary from a £200 fine to a driving ban. You can also receive up to 6 penalty points on your license for driving whilst using a mobile phone. If you have passed your driving test in the last two years, you will lose your licence and depending on the circumstances you may also have to retake the test. This decision is up to the discretion of the court. 

If your mobile driving offence case is taken to court, fines can be increased to £1000 and penalty points to 9. 


Is using a mobile phone whilst driving a criminal offence? 

Yes. Driving whilst using a mobile phone is forbidden by current UK law, and you can be charged for it. A mobile phone driving offence is also classified as careless and reckless driving, or even driving without due care. Doing something as simple as tapping your screen whilst you’re driving is seen as a criminal offence and if caught you will receive a penalty. 


How can I argue against a mobile driving offence? 

If you are caught using a mobile phone whilst driving, you are legally allowed to contest the charge and can do so with the assistance of a solicitor. Solicitors will draw on their years of experience defending the accused, and help to either reduce your charge or get it dismissed completely. Police evidence may not be enough to prove you have committed a mobile driving offence. 

If you believe you have been wrongly charged with a mobile driving offence, you can ask for sufficient evidence and can take the matter to court.


What devices are included in a mobile driving offence? 

A mobile driving offence doesn’t just cover the use of a phone whilst driving and extends to any kind of handheld electronic device. This includes phones, sat-navs, iPods and handheld computers. If you are caught interacting with these devices whilst driving, you can be charged with a fine, penalty points and a driving ban. 


How can we help with a mobile driving offence? 

Driving Law’s expert team of solicitors can help you if you’ve been charged with a mobile driving offence. We will collect all necessary evidence, ensuring you have a valid defence before we start building your case. Once we have ascertained the circumstances of your case, we will offer our representation service, assisting you throughout the final hearing. 

Our solicitors will use their years of experience to persuade the court, reducing the penalty or dismissing the case completely. If you don’t need court assistance, we also offer a simple telephone advice service and a quick expert legal advice service. We can talk you through the steps of your case, advising you on your probability of success and what actions you should take. 


Will a mobile driving offence stay on my record? 

If you receive penalty points in the event of a mobile driving offence charge, those points will remain on your license for four years from the date of offence. This period could be extended to 11 years if your mobile driving offence is classified as dangerous driving. 

If your case is taken to court and you are convicted for a mobile driving offence, you will, unfortunately, have a criminal record. Most driving offences are kept on your record for around five years, after which the charge will disappear. In the event of a much more serious charge, such as drink driving or dangerous driving (the latter of which can also be a mobile driving offence), your conviction will stay on your record for longer. 


What happens if you get caught and charged with a mobile driving offence? 

If you are caught driving while using a mobile device, you will be charged with a mobile driving offence. This could mean either a fine, penalty points or a driving ban. Evidence will be given against you to prove a mobile driving offence, but the charge can be contested if you believe the evidence is insufficient. You can be convicted in or out of court, depending on the severity of the case, and will receive your penalty accordingly. Your licence may also be revoked if you have passed your driving test within the last two years. You can also hire a solicitor to represent you in court, or even just to give legal advice. 


How many points will I get for a mobile driving offence? 

Penalty points for a mobile driving offence range from 3 points to 9. The most common penalty given out for a mobile driving offence is 6 penalty points and a £200 fine. If you have previous points on your licence, you could receive a disqualification if the points add up to 12, also known as a “totting up ban.”  


When were mobile driving offences introduced? 

It has been illegal to drive while using your mobile phone since 2003 when regulations 110 (1) and (2) were introduced, amending the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986. From then on, you could be charged with a mobile driving offence if caught using a handheld device on the road. In 2007, the penalty increased to 3 points and a £60 fine, rising to £100 in 2013. 

Since 2017, mobile driving offences can result in 6 penalty points and a £200 fine. The penalties have increased as technology has developed, and as other drivers become increasingly wary of mobile phone users on the road. Mobile driving offence penalties are due to escalate in 2021, including the use of standalone functions that don’t require an internet connection.

Common offences