Jun 21, 2023
Is it illegal to have a phone holder on my car windscreen?
USING a sat-nav on your phone is one of the joys of the technological age, making it so much easier not to get lost when driving through unfamiliar streets. But is it illegal to have a phone holder on
USING a sat-nav on your phone is one of the joys of the technological age, making it so much easier not to get lost when driving through unfamiliar streets.
But is it illegal to have a phone holder on the windscreen of a motor vehicle, and are there certain restrictions on where one can be placed?
Safety experts have warned motorists they could risk causing an accident if a device isn't positioned correctly on their car's windscreen, so take care about where the phone holder is placed is very important.
Previously, the law only banned hand-held calls and messaging while driving, which was referred to as 'interactive communication'.
Using your phone for anything else, such as setting a journey on a navigation app, scrolling through your feed on a social media website or selecting music from a playlist was effectively legal.
In 2022 these loopholes were closed in an effort to stop Brits playing with their phones while behind the wheel, leading many drivers to secure their phones to their windscreens for easier access.
It is now illegal for motorists to even touch their phones or devices, except for in a genuine emergency.
Those who flout it by scrolling, taking selfies or playing games while driving face a fine and points on their licence, and may face even harsher punishment if caught making a video call behind the wheel.
Hands-free calling and using a phone for sat-nav will still be allowed, as long as you do not enter the destination of your journey while driving.
And there will be a McDonald's exception - meaning hungry Brits will still be able to use their phone to pay for takeaways at drive-thrus and road tolls.
Before the law changed in 2022, Brits had able to dodge hefty fines since a High Court ruling in 2019 which said drivers were only committing an offence if they used their phone or device for 'interactive communication'.
There are no specific rules for where sat-navs or phones should be placed, but the position of a phone being used as a sat-nav could see drivers fall foul of the Highway Code.
Technically, phone holders and sat-nav holders that fix onto windscreen are a breach of the code.
The code says "windscreens and windows MUST be kept clean and free from obstructions to vision".
A phone holder stuck onto a windscreen could be seen as obstructing a driver's vision in a court case.
And the Road Traffic Act says "no person shall drive a motor vehicle on a road if he is in such a position that he cannot ... have a full view of the road and traffic ahead."
Road safety officer Neil Worth has said the safest place for a holder is “in the bottom right-hand corner of your windscreen.”
A spokesman for the AA said a sat-nav "should be programmed with the route before you set off."
It's not technically illegal to mount a sat-nav in the middle of a windscreen, but obstructing you view could see you hit with a £100 on-the-spot fine.
Drivers could also be slapped with six penalty points on their licence.
Anyone who unsuccessfully challenges the decision in court could be fined £1,000.
If the position of a sat nav blocks a driver's view and causes an accident that driveris more likely to be blamed.
It could also have an impact on a driver's insurance claims.
And motorists who use a sat-nav or phone that's isn't on the dashboard or windscreen could be fined £200 and hit with up to six penalty points.