March 25, 2022 2.00 pm

New rules make it illegal to check time on your phone while driving – but paying contactless is fine

The changes have been backed by a senior Lincolnshire cop

Changes to mobile phone driving laws that now make it a criminal offence to check the time or unlock your device while behind the wheel have been described as a “welcome change” by a senior Lincolnshire Police officer.

From Friday, March 25, a new “zero-tolerance approach” has been adopted to try to prevent mobile device usage while driving a vehicle, and thus reduce crashes and fatalities on the road.

It was already illegal to text or make a phone call on a handheld device while driving, but the regulations have expanded to just about any use of a mobile behind the wheel.

Anyone caught using their handheld device in one of a series of ways, including checking the time, accessing the internet or even simply unlocking your device could face fines of up to £1,000 as well as six points on their driving licence.

There are exceptions to this new approach, however, such as using a smartphone as a satnav, so long as it is in a secure cradle on your dashboard, making contactless payments at a drive-thru, or while your vehicle is stationary.

The activities for which it is now an offence to commit while driving are as follows:

  • Checking the time
  • Checking notifications
  • Unlocking a 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 functionality
  • Illuminating the screen
  • Drafting any text
  • Acessing an application
  • Accessing the internet
  • Accessing any stored data such as documents, books, audio files, photos, videos, films, playlists, notes or messages

Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Cox, head of crime and intelligence at Lincolnshire Police and also the national lead for fatal collision investigations at the National Police Chiefs’ Council, took to social media to embrace the rule altercations.

Det Supt Cox has been an active campaigner for road safety across the country for a number of years, and is set to embark on another charity challenge this May to mark Global Road Safety Week.


Read: More people die on roads than in murder and terrorism combined, says senior Lincs cop


He will be running, walking and cycling 30 miles each day across the country between May 16 and 22, in the hope of raising £500,000 for RoadPeace.

The challenge starts at the Isle of Wight where Andy Cox grew up, before ending at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. So far he has raised almost £35,000 at the time of reporting and you can visit the JustGiving page here.