- It will become illegal for anyone to pick up and use their mobile phone while driving, under new legislation to be enacted next year.
The change will end a loophole that can allow drivers to escape punishment for using a hand-held phone to take a photo or play a game.
Mobiles will still be able to be used to pay for a drive-through takeaway.
And drivers will still be able to use devices hands-free under the plans, the Department for Transport said.
At present, making phone calls and sending text messages are banned while driving.
Ministers have rejected calls to also ban the use of hands-free function, for example using a sat-nav in a phone cradle.
Roads minister Baroness Vere said hand-held phone use behind the wheel was "distracting and dangerous" and that "for too long risky drivers have been able to escape punishment".
- It’s illegal to hold a phone or sat nav while driving or riding a motorcycle. You must have hands-free access, such as:
a bluetooth headset
a dashboard holder or mat
a windscreen mount
a built-in sat nav
The device must not block your view of the road and traffic ahead.
You must stay in full control of your vehicle at all times. The police can stop you if they think you’re not in control because you’re distracted and you can be prosecuted.
The law still applies to you if you’re:
stopped at traffic lights
queuing in traffic
supervising a learner driver
When you can use a hand-held phone
You can use a hand-held phone if either of these apply:
you’re safely parked
you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop
You can get 6 penalty points and a £200 fine if you use a hand-held phone when driving. You’ll also lose your licence if you passed your driving test in the last 2 years.
You can get 3 penalty points if you don’t have a full view of the road and traffic ahead or proper control of the vehicle.
You can also be taken to court where you can:
be banned from driving or riding
get a maximum fine of £1,000 (£2,500 if you’re driving a lorry or bus)