You Could Face a £200 Fine for Using Your Smartphone at the Drive Thru


The new penalty for using a mobile phone while driving has been widely reported but did you know the law could apply to using a mobile to make contactless payments at a drive-through restaurant? Lauren Rae, Dispute Resolution and Claims Associate at leading Scottish law firm Thorntons, sheds light on the topic.

She said: “The new legislation is not limited to using a mobile for making calls and texts – it is illegal to operate a mobile telephone, in any way, which detracts from the driver’s attention to the road.

“This includes checking social media, or playing and changing music. And it may also include using a mobile telephone to make contactless payments at a drive-through restaurant.

“Put simply, touching a mobile phone whilst the vehicle’s engine is running, could, on a strict interpretation of the law, amount to a criminal offence.

“I would anticipate that the Police and Procurator Fiscal are likely to deploy a common sense approach in the prosecution of such offences – but drivers need to be aware of the risks and potential penalties for using a mobile phone whilst driving for any purpose.

“To avoid falling foul of the law, drivers should switch off their vehicle’s engine and apply the handbrake prior to using their mobile phone at any time.”

From 1st March 2017, the fixed penalties for driving whilst using a mobile telephone doubled from a £100 fine and three penalty points to a £200 fine and six penalty points. It is not illegal to use your mobile telephone hands-free. However, it is illegal to drive whilst using your mobile phone.

(Source: Thorntons Solicitors)

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