Motorists are being warned as stricter new laws for using your mobile phone while driving come into force.

Drivers cannot use a hand-held device while behind the wheel for any reason as of Friday, March 25.

This could be to scroll through music playlists, call somebody or even just picking it up to unlock it or check the time.

National law firm Stephensons has welcomed the changes and warned new drivers if caught and prosecuted could have their licence revoked and be forced to re-sit their driving test.

Current law on using mobile phones while driving

At the moment, it is an offence to use a hand-held mobile phone or similar device for ‘interactive communication’ when driving. That includes making and receiving phone calls, texting, or accessing the internet.

These laws first came into force in 2003.

Using a mobile while driving – new law

From Friday, anyone found to be using a hand-held device behind the wheel, for any reason, will be committing an offence.

This means that anyone picking up their mobile phone device to film or watch videos, play games or scroll through playlists while driving will be breaking the law.

This also extends to picking up your phone to unlock the device, illuminate the screen, check the time or even reject an inbound telephone call.

Solicitor and motoring law specialist at Stephensons Solicitors LLP, Paul Loughlin, said: “While this change is a very welcome development in ensuring safer roads, there will be many people left scratching their heads as to why this change in the law didn’t happen sooner.

“The most recent public consultation established that 81% of people support the tightening up of these rules.”

Exemptions for using a mobile while driving

Other than in emergency situations, the only other permitted use of a hand-held device while driving will be to make a contactless payment at a payment terminal – such as a drive-through takeaway.

However, you must ensure the vehicle is stationary while using your phone to make the payment.

Penalties for using a mobile while driving

Anyone found to be breaking the law will be subject to a £200 fine and six points on their driving licence.

Mr Loughlin said: “While this legislation will certainly act as a greater deterrent, it is important that we now see a sustained effort to educate drivers of this change as well as tough enforcement from the police.

“The reality is that these changes mean that, aside from the exemption allowing the use of the phone to make contactless payments when your vehicle is stationary, holding your phone and interacting with it whilst driving, whether in stationary traffic or not, will see you prosecuted if caught.

“For a driver who has been driving for less than two years, this would mean that you would have your licence revoked and would have to re-sit your driving test.”