How to use satnav without risking a fine

Safety experts are warning motorists to be clear about the rules on using satnav devices — or face a £200 fine and six penalty points when a crackdown against drivers using handheld devices comes into effect next year.

Loopholes in the law are being closed to stop driver playing with their phones while behind the wheel. In the past, many drivers secured their phones to the windscreen for easier access. Regardless of where your phone is secured, drivers who use a device to watch videos, take photos and videos, scroll through social media, or to change music will now face prosecution.

The changes make it illegal for motorists to even touch their phones or devices except in an emergency. However, hands-free calling and using a phone for sat-nav will still be allowed.

There is also an exception for using a phone to make a payment at drive thru restaurants and at roll tolls.

Is it legal to secure a phone to the windscreen?

Technically, phone holders and satnav holders that fix onto windscreen are a breach of the Highway Code, which says "windscreens and windows must be kept clean and free from obstructions to vision". 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."

A phone holder stuck onto a windscreen could be seen as obstructing a driver's vision if there is a collision and the case ends up in court.

The AA reminds drivers to programme the satnav with the route before you set off. And motorists who use a satnav device, or phone for satnav, that isn't hands-free could be fined £200 and hit with up to six penalty points under the new rules.

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