West Yorkshire Police warning ahead of changes to the law on using a mobile phone while driving

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Rules on using mobile phones when driving are changing Credit: PA

West Yorkshire Police is warning drivers to be aware of the new, stricter laws on using a hand-held device behind the wheel that come into force on Friday.

Under current legislation it is illegal to text or make a phone call, other than in an emergency, via a hand-held device while driving.

But from Friday loopholes will be closed which had allowed drivers to avoid prosecution when using their device other than for phone calls or messages.

It is hoped the new laws will curb the rise in driving incidents caused by drivers using their mobile device.

Since coming into effect in 2003, it has been an offence to use a hand held mobile phone for "interactive communication" when driving. It covers texting, receiving or making calls and accessing the internet.

The new rules

Under the new stricter rules that come into effect on 25 March, drivers will not be able to use their mobile phone in any way. It includes:

  • Illuminating the screen

  • Checking the time

  • Checking notifications

  • Unlocking the device

  • Making, receiving, or rejecting a telephone or internet based call

  • Sending, receiving or uploading oral or written content

  • Sending, receiving or uploading a photo or video Utilising camera, video, or sound recording

  • Drafting any text

  • Accessing any stored data such as documents, books, audio files, photos, videos, films, playlists, notes or messages

  • Accessing an app

  • Accessing the internet

There is an exemption which allows drivers to use a mobile to make a contactless payment while the vehicle is stationary at places such as drive throughs and car parks.

Using a mobile phone for navigation will still be legal, so long as it's not in the driver’s hand.