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Thousands Of Brits Risking £1,000 Fine And 6 Points On Their Licence At Car Parks And Drive Throughs

Thousands Of Brits Risking £1,000 Fine And 6 Points On Their Licence At Car Parks And Drive Throughs

Stopping off on the way home to grab some food, picking up a coffee on the way to work, or even paying on the way out of a car park could see people slapped with a fine of up to £1,000 and six points added to their licence.

That's thanks to the combination of two things - the first is people paying with their phone and the second is the law surrounding using your phone while driving.

Quite rightly, people using a handheld phone on the road are liable to strict penalties.

The law states that you need to pull over and turn off your engine before interacting with your phone.

And that definitely includes using it to pay for something.

Two minute job that could save students who drive to university from a £1,000 fine - and a rejected insurance claim

Even though I'm not on the road?!

Thousands Of Brits Risking £1,000 Fine And 6 Points On Their Licence At Car Parks And Drive Throughs

Bloomberg

Yup. Sadly the rules apply to people even when you're in a queue, not moving, on private land.

"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 (called 'start-stop technology)," The RAC explains in its guide to mobile phone laws .

As to whether you're safe on private land - sadly any road the public has free access to is covered by the laws.

That means drive throughs, petrol station forecourts and car parks count too.

And it's not uncommon - figures from All Car Leasing show 1 person in 10 uses contactless to pay on their mobile phone at a drive through or car park.

And that's before we get to petrol stations.

RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis told Mirror Money: “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.”

The penalty for paying by phone

Thousands Of Brits Risking £1,000 Fine And 6 Points On Their Licence At Car Parks And Drive Throughs

E+

The penalty for being caught using a handheld device while driving is six penalty points and a £200 fine.

That means you'll automatically lose your licence if you passed your driving test in the past 2 years .

If the police think yours is a particularly extreme case you can also be taken to court where you can banned from driving and receive a maximum fine of £1,000 - rising to £2,500 if you’re driving a lorry or bus.

Of course, it's hard to see this counting as an extreme case, but the penalty is there if the authorities decide it is.

Staying safe

It's incredibly unlikely the police are staking out car parks and drive throughs waiting to pounce on unsuspecting people paying with their phones.

But that doesn't mean there's no risk - with a passing patrol well within its rights to fine you and add points to your licence if they see you.

Worse, if there's an accident - say the person behind you in the queue bumping into to you - and the CCTV is looked at you're definitely in trouble.

The easy way to avoid this is to make sure you don't pay by phone. It's a sensible move to keep a few pounds in cash tucked away out of sight in the car anyway, possibly with a back-up card too.

Alternatively, if you only discover you've left your wallet at home after you've collected the food, you might also be OK if you make sure you pull to the side and turn off your engine before paying.