It is now an offence to use any hand held mobile phone or other similar device whilst driving. The only defence is where the device is being used to contact emergency services or where there is a genuine emergency.
The offence is committed even if you are sitting in a traffic jam. It makes no difference whether or not the standard of driving was affected by the use of the device. Where the standard of driving has been affected a more serious charge of careless driving or dangerous driving may be made.
The penalty is 3 penalty points, which could mean a disqualification if you already have 9 points (see "totting up") and a fine of up to £1,000 or £2,500 if you were driving a vehicle with 8 or more passengers.
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