09:40 21 March 2017
Motorists are not allowed to use their mobile phones while behind the wheel and the engine is on – this has been the law for the past 14 years. But with more and more people relying on their smartphones for directions and navigation, tougher penalties have been introduced across the UK.
The new stricter law, which took effect on March 01, means motorists caught using their phones will be given six penalty points and a £200 fine. Meanwhile, new drivers who have passed their test for the past two years will automatically lose their licence if caught violating the law.
Does this mean you can no longer use your phone as Sat Nav? Interestingly, the law does not prevent you from using apps such as Google Maps and Citymapper. However, you need to ensure that you are not to touch your phone while the engine is on. You can make this happen by pre-programming your phone.
A spokesman for the AA said: "It should be programmed with the route before you set off.
"If it pops up with a message which requires just one press of a button, such as 'A faster route has been found. Accept/ Decline' you should be OK to do this, as you would with an in-built sat-nav.
"But if you need to reprogramme the route then pull over and stop somewhere safe to do it."
Experts also advise to get an appropriate holder that attaches to air vents.