Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 19th November 2018

If you plan on hitting the drive through on the way home from work, then you could unknowingly be risking a fine, and perhaps even your licence.

Tougher punishments for mobile phone use

This news comes following tougher punishments that were introduced in March of last year for distracted drivers, concerning the use of a mobile phone behind the wheel.

As part of these rules, if you go through a drive through and use your mobile phone to pay for your order, then you will be automatically breaking the law, because it’s classed as using a handheld device behind the wheel.

The RAC have stated, in their mobile phone driving laws guide, that “if your engine is running, your phone should be nowhere near your hands. This is still the case if the engine stops automatically to save fuel…”

Of course it’s quite right that those drivers using a handheld phone or device on the roads are liable to strict penalties. But the law also states that you must pull over and turn your engine off before you ever interact with a mobile phone. And as mentioned, this certainly applies to when you pay for something with one too.  

Being aware of the penalties

So, grabbing that quick bite to eat, cup of coffee to sip on, or even filling up your car at the petrol station could see you as a driver hit with a large fine and six penalty points due to mobile phone laws.

If you’ve only held your drivers licence for less than two years, then you could end up completely stripped of your licence if you get caught out in this situation. The penalties apply  whether you’re on a public road or private land with free access to the public, such as the drive-thru of a restaurant.

You may already be aware that drivers caught using their phones on the road will automatically face six penalty points and a £200 fine, but many drivers might not be aware that this applies when you’re paying for snack at a drive-thru window. Unfortunately, if the police judge your case to be especially reckless, then you will go to court, where you could end up with a £1000 fine and your licence revoked.

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis, has since warned that motorists should be more aware of the rules and penalties that apply regarding phone use, in order to avoid getting caught out. “Every driver should always ensure they are parked and have their engine switched off before using a handheld phone – anything else could land them in trouble, even if they are in a car park, drive-thru or petrol forecourt.”