Can I use a mobile phone while driving?

It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving.

Although using a hands-free mobile phone is legal, it does not significantly reduce risks because the problems are caused mainly by being distracted and trying to focus on two things at once.

Instead, park your car safely before making or receiving calls.

According to the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), employers should provide workers with clear guidance on the use of mobile phones, prohibiting use of hand-held or hands-free phones while driving.

RoSPA also says that employers would be unwise to supply workers with hands-free kits, in case use of the phone is found to have caused or contributed to an accident. However, workers who regularly drive for work should be provided with a mobile phone so that they can summon help in an emergency.

RoSPA warns that drivers who use a mobile phone, whether hand-held or hands-free:

  • are much less aware of what’s happening on the road around them;
  • fail to see road signs;
  • fail to maintain proper lane position and steady speed;
  • are more likely to ‘tailgate’ the vehicle in front;
  • react more slowly and take longer to brake;
  • are more likely to enter unsafe gaps in traffic; and
  • feel more stressed and frustrated.

Consult the RoSPA guidance, Driving for work: Mobile phones, written in collaboration with the Department for Transport.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.