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"The consequences of using a mobile phone while at the wheel can be catastrophic."
That is the message from Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police's joint operations Roads Policing Unit as new law changes come into effect from today (March 25).
The change sees the law expanded and mean you can receive an immediate fine of £200 and penalty points on your licence for the following offences while driving:
- Illuminating the screen
- Checking the time on your phone
- Checking notifications
- Unlocking the device
- Making, receiving, or rejecting a telephone or internet based call
- 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 are just two exemptions to the law, allowing for a call to be made in an emergency where is it not practical to stop, and for contactless payment for a service provided at the time - for example, road tolls or drive-thrus - but the vehicle must be stationary.
Sergeant Dave Hazlett, of the Road Safety Unit, said: "Data shows you are four times more likely to be involved in a collision if you use a mobile phone while driving.
"The consequences of using a mobile phone at the wheel can be catastrophic, and you are placing not only yourself but other road users at significant risk.
"While the large majority of motorists will already avoid using their phone in these circumstances, this is an important change and one all road users should take note of.
"This change to the legislation closes several loopholes, and is an important step forward for road safety."