New mobile phone laws come into force for drivers today (March 25). 

Drivers will face tougher rules when using mobile phones at the wheel. 

From March 25, handling a phone or mobile device from touching the screen to play a game or scrolling through a music app will be banned under the new rules.

Here's what you need to know: 

What you WON'T be able to do while driving from March 25

  • illuminating the screen
  • checking the time
  • checking notifications
  • unlocking the device
  • making, receiving, or rejecting a telephone or internet based call
  • sending, receiving or uploading oral or written content
  • sending, receiving or uploading a photo or video
  • utilising camera, video, or sound recording functionality
  • drafting any text
  • accessing any stored data such as documents, books, audio files, photos, videos, films, playlists, notes or messages
  • accessing an application
  • accessing the internet

What's the penalty? 

Drivers caught using their phone or other mobile hand-held device for any of the reasons above face a £200 fine and six points on their licence from March 25.

Are there any exceptions? 

The only exceptions are to make an emergency call when it is not possible to pull over and to make a contactless payment at a toll or drive-thru.

Can I still use my sat-nav? 

Using a phone as a sat-nav will still be permitted if it is secured in a holder and hands-free calls will also be allowed.

What has Essex Police said?

Adam Pipe, Head of Roads Policing in Essex, said: “Every driver needs to know about this change. 

“The new law is very clear and will mean that whenever a driver holds or uses a mobile while they are driving, they will be breaking the law. 

“It means you can be issued a fixed penalty notice for scrolling for music, videoing or taking photos and not just using a mobile to make or take a phone call.

“Just picking it up could see you break the law.

“Some drivers feel they can drive safely whilst using a mobile, but distraction creeps in. If you are looking at and concentrating on your mobile’s screen, you are not looking at or concentrating on the road ahead, and that could have serious consequences for all road users.

“We want the roads in Essex to be the safest they can be and we want everyone to play their part in that.

“If the thing that you want to do can wait, then wait.

“Don’t risk your life or the life of someone else just to do something that isn’t very important in the grand scheme of things.”