The clampdown on motorists using phones to call and text began in April
It also extends to using mobiles as satnavs, drivers are warned ahead of holiday
Max. penalty has doubled to £200 and six points for more experienced drivers
Drivers who have held their licence for less than two years can be disqualified
Using a mobile phone to navigate in the car could result in a ban and a £200 fine for the driver, police chiefs have warned.
A clampdown on motorists using phones to call and text that began in April also extends to using mobiles as satnavs, drivers are warned as the bank holiday exodus gets underway.
Though it is not illegal to run a navigation app while driving, motorists can face prosecution if they touch the device while at the wheel.
Drivers who have held their licence for less than two years can be disqualified, while the maximum penalty has doubled to £200 and six points for more experienced road-users.
A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs Council said: ‘If an officer determines that a driver using their satnav hindered their ability to control the car, the driver could face prosecution.’
These warnings expose inconsistencies between the more lenient penalties for using a traditional or built-in satnav and the harsher punishments involving mobile phone use.
In April a report published by comparison website uSwitch found Britian had become a nation of ‘satnav junkies’, causing many motorists to drive dangerously.
One in 20 drivers gets a speeding fine because of their ‘addiction’ to satnavs which show the wrong speed limit, according to the study.
Motorists’ over-reliance on the devices led nearly one in five of drivers to drive ‘dangerously’.
Drivers said ‘incorrect directions’ had caused them to make a U-turn or to drive the wrong way down a one way street.
And around one in six of motorists say their satnav has given them the wrong speed limit while out on the road.
Meanwhile a survey for Post Office Money in 2015 found 7million adults in Britain have never used a roadmap and 2.5million of these would not know how to use one.
What is the law on using mobile phones while behind the wheel?
It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone or similar device – such as a sat nav or camera – while driving or riding a motorcycle.
These rules apply even while stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
Motorists can only use a hand-held mobile in the case of a genuine emergency that requires a 999/112 call and it is not safe or impractical to pull over and park.
Drivers are obliged to remain in full control of their vehicles at all time.
If a police officer feels the motorist is not in full control because they are tuning their radio or using a sat-nav or phone in a cradle, they can face prosecution.
Drivers supervising learner drivers or riders are also banned from using hand-held devices despite being in a the passenger seat.
Motorists can only use a hand-held device if their car is safely parked in an appropriate location.
Pulling over to the hard shoulder to take or make a call could result in prosecution.
Breaching the legislation can result in 6 penalty points and a fine of £200.
If the case goes to court, the driver or rider could face a ban and a maximum fine of £1,000.
Drivers of buses or goods vehicles face higher fines of £2,500.
Motorists with their phones or sat navs attached to their windscreens can also face prosecution, if the area swept by the windscreen wipers is obscured.