In the UK, it is illegal in most situations to use a hand-held mobile phone or similar device – such as a sat nav or camera – while driving a car or riding a motorcycle.
These rules apply even while stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
Some laws target handheld devices only, while other laws affect both handheld and handsfree devices.
Motorists can only use a hand-held mobile in the case of a genuine emergency that requires a 999/112 call and it is not safe or impractical to pull over and park.
Drivers are obliged to remain in full control of their vehicles at all time.
If a police officer feels the motorist is not in full control because they are tuning their radio or using a sat-nav or phone in a cradle, they may also face prosecution.
Drivers supervising learner drivers or riders are also banned from using hand-held devices despite being in a the passenger seat.
Motorists can only use a hand-held device if their car is safely parked in an appropriate location.
Pulling over to the hard shoulder to take or make a call could result in prosecution.
Breaching the legislation can result in 6 penalty points and a fine of £200.
If the case goes to court, the driver or rider could face a ban and a maximum fine of £1,000.
Drivers of buses or goods vehicles face higher fines of £2,500.
Motorists with their phones or sat navs attached to their windscreens can also face prosecution, if the area swept by the windscreen wipers is obscured.
Australia and the United States
In the United States and Australia, laws regulating the use of mobile phones and other electronics by motorists differ from state to state.
Some laws affect only novice drivers or commercial drivers, while some laws affect all drivers.
In the US, no state bans all cell phone use for all drivers. However, many prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving.
All phone use by newer drivers is prohibited by 36 states and Washington DC and 19 states, plus Washington DC, prohibit any phone use by school bus drivers if children are present.
In Australia, common sense dictates that you should minimise use of your phone while driving, sticking to hands-free mode and a Bluetooth headset if you want to make calls.
Exactly what you can and can’t do varies a little state by state, with many mandating the use of hands-free or commercially manufactured cradles, including for GPS devices.
This content was originally published here.