Police chiefs have warned that drivers using a mobile phone to navigate while driving will be treated just the same as if they were calling or texting while driving.
According to Which? magazine, you can still use a mobile phone as a sat nav, so long as you “do not touch the phone and it is properly mounted.” However, a spokesman for the National Police Chiefs Council said, “if an officer determines that a driver using their sat nav hindered their ability to control the vehicle, the driver could face prosecution.”
When it comes to mounting your phone, or standalone sat nav, Which? added that drivers must “make sure it is in a position where it doesn’t obscure your view. Avoid putting it in the middle of the windscreen and instead place it low down on the side of your windscreen. Some mounts will allow you to clip them to air vents on the dashboard. These are great for keeping your phone out of your eye line while driving, but they tend to be less secure.”
Motoring groups say that if drivers intend to use their phone as a sat nav they should pre-programme the route before setting off and ensure the device is in a holder out of reach that does not obscure their view of the road.
The financial penalty for touching your phone while at the wheel – even if you are stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic, as your engine is still running – doubled in March this year to six penalty points and a £200 fine, which could see new drivers with less than two years’ experience disqualified. Drivers of buses and coaches or HGVs face fines of up to £2,500.