Driving Laws and Your Sat Nav

In early December, 2017, a variety of changes were made to driving laws in the UK. A few of these changes in particular were focused around sat nav. Whether you use your mobile device, built in navigation or an external device, it is important to take these new changes into account.

Hands free

Regardless of the device you choose to use, you must make sure that you have hands free access. There are many options available to do this, such as:

  • Bluetooth headset
  • Voice command
  • Dashboard holder or mat
  • Windscreen mount
  • Build in navigation
  • A clear view

If you are to use an external device, such as your phone or a TomTom, it is important that the device in no way blocks your view of the road or any traffic ahead. It needs to be made clear that you have full control of your vehicle.

If it appears that you do not, then police reserve the right to stop you. This law is still applicable under the following situations

  • You have stopped at traffic lights
  • You are in a queue of traffic
  • You are supervising a learner driver
  • When to use a handheld device

Though you may need to use your device by hand at one point or another, you must make sure you are in safely parked in order to do so. The only exception to this is that you are making an emergency call and it would be impractical or unsafe to stop driving.


If you do not comply with these laws, you will be hit with a more forceful penalty than you would have before December. If you are caught driving whilst using your handheld device, you can now be punished with six points on your license and a two hundred pound fine. If you have been driving with a full license for two years or less, that license can be taken away from you if you don’t follow the new laws.

If you do not have a clear view of the road ahead, or if you do not have proper control over your vehicle, you will be punished with three penalty points on your license. There are also other penalties depending on the severity of your actions. You can be sent to court, receive a driving ban an receive a fine of up to one thousand pounds. If you are driving a lorry or a van, however, you could be facing a fine of up to two and a half thousand pounds.

Changes in test laws

For new drivers, however, this information will be covered in practice, and there have now been changes made to driving tests. Following a sat nav is now a topic that will be covered during one in five driving examinations.

The driver will provide the device and will set it up for the learner, so does not matter what device was used during practice, and will not impact the learners test difficulty. The learner is also unable to use their own device, but can ask the examiner is they are feeling unsure, and will not be marked based on whether they take the wrong turn, only if they make a fault.

It is imperative that these new laws are followed, but you will not be able to control what another driver chooses to do. If you find yourself injured due to the actions of another driver, talk to Harold Stock and Co. We are here to listen to your queries and to help you receive what is necessary to getting you back on your feet.

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