The penalty table of The Highway Code has been updated.
New Penalty Table >>
From 1 March 2017, the penalties for using a hand-held mobile phone while driving increase to 6 points and a £200 fine.
Your case could also go to court and you could be disqualified from driving or riding and get a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of £2,500.
It’s illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device while driving, or riding a motorcycle.
The rules are the same if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
It’s also illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver or rider.
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. This includes if you’re using devices like your sat nav or car radio.
When you can use a phone in your vehicle
If you’re the driver, you can only use your phone in a vehicle if
Road users requiring extra care (204 to 225)
Updated Rule 209 to add an image of the school bus road sign.
Rules for drivers and motorcyclists (89 to 102)
2 March 2015 : Updated rule 96 to reflect the change in law that you MUST NOT drive if you have illegal drugs or certain medicines in your blood above specified limits. Read more >>
5 December 2014: Updated rule 95 to reflect the change in law for lower drink drive limits in Scotland.
General rules, techniques and advice for all drivers and riders (103 to 158)
1 October 2015: Updated rule 148 to include that you MUST NOT smoke in a private vehicle carrying under 18s. Read more >>
6 April 2015: Updated the national speed limit for goods vehicles (of more than 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight) in England and Wales on single carriageways from 40 miles per hour (mph) to 50mph, and on dual carriageways from 50mph to 60mph. Read more >>
2 September 2014: Updated rule 147 about throwing things out of a vehicle from 'should not' to 'MUST NOT'.
2 April 2014: Changed 'Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA)' to 'Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)' in rule 107.
Annex 3. Motor vehicle documentation and learner driver requirements
8 June 2015: Removed references to needing a paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence.
1 October 2014: Removed references of needing to display a tax disc in vehicles following their abolition.
Annex 5. Penalties
5 June 2015: Updated the penalty table to remove the £5,000 limit on fines for the most serious offences.
From 1 October 2015 is illegal:
- for retailers to sell electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or e-liquids to someone under 18
- for adults to buy (or try to buy) tobacco products or e-cigarettes for someone under 18
- to smoke in private vehicles that are carrying someone under 18
Rules about smoking in private vehicles
Private vehicles must be smokefree if they are enclosed, there is more than one person present and one of them is under 18.
The rules don’t apply to e-cigarettes.
The fixed penalty notice fine is £50 (for person who smokes and for driver). Somebody who commits both offences could get 2 fines.
Private vehicles must be carrying more than one person to be smokefree so somebody who is 17 and smoking alone in a private vehicle won’t be committing an offence.
Enforcement officers (usually the police) will use their discretion to decide whether to issue a warning or a fixed penalty notice, or whether to refer an offence to court.
What classes as an enclosed vehicle
The legislation covers any private vehicle that is enclosed wholly or partly by a roof. A convertible car, or coupe, with the roof completely down and stowed is not enclosed and so isn’t covered by the legislation. But a vehicle with a sunroof open is still enclosed and so is covered by the legislation.
Sitting in the open doorway of an enclosed vehicle is covered by the legislation.
The rules apply to motorhomes, campervans and caravans when they are being used as a vehicle but don’t apply when they are being used as living accommodation.
The rules don’t apply to:
- boats, ships and aircraft, as they have their own rules
- work vehicles and public transport, as they are already covered by smokefree legislation
The new regulations in England and Wales for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) over 7.5 tonnes speed limits rise from 40mph to 50mph on single carriageways, and from 50mph to 60mph on dual carriageways.
Speed limits was changed from 6 April 2015.
Rule 124 of The Highway Code has been updated
Rule 96 of The Highway Code has been updated on 2 March 2015.
New rule 96:
You MUST NOT drive under the influence of drugs or medicine. For medicines, check with your doctor or pharmacist and do not drive if you are advised that you may be impaired.
You MUST NOT drive if you have illegal drugs or certain medicines in your blood above specified limits. It is highly dangerous so never take illegal drugs if you intend to drive; the effects are unpredictable, but can be even more severe than alcohol and result in fatal or serious road crashes. Illegal drugs have been specified at very low levels so even small amounts of use could be above the specified limits. The limits for certain medicines have been specified at higher levels, above the levels generally found in the blood of patients who have taken normal therapeutic doses. If you are found to have a concentration of a drug above its specified limit in your blood because you have been prescribed or legitimately supplied a particularly high dose of medicine, then you can raise a statutory medical defence, provided your driving was not impaired by the medicine you are taking.
Laws RTA 1988 sect 4 & Law RTA 1988 sect 5A
Old version of this rule:
You MUST NOT drive under the influence of drugs or medicine. Check the instructions or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Using illegal drugs is highly dangerous. Never take them if you intend to drive; the effects are unpredictable, but can be even more severe than alcohol and may result in fatal or serious road crashes.
Law RTA 1988 sect 4