Could texting from the passenger seat cost you £200 and six points?

Could texting from the passenger seat cost you £200 and six points?
Many drivers aren’t aware that using a mobile phone in the passenger seat could hold the same punishment as when driving, it has been warned.

Motorists who are supervising learner drivers could find themselves lumbered with fines of £200 and six penalty points if caught using a mobile phone in the passenger seat.

Supervising drivers can also be penalised if found over the drink-driving limit while accompanying a learner.

According to UK driving law, supervising a learner gives the accompanying driver the same legal responsibilities as if they were driving the vehicle themself.

This means that failing to comply with road traffic laws such as alcohol limits and using mobile devices, could hold the same legal penalties.

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IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy and Research, Neil Greig, clarifies: “Supervising a learner actually puts you in the driving seat so legally you must treat it in the same way as if you were behind the wheel.

“Learning to drive is stressful enough without a passenger beside you who is more worried about posting than parking.”

Of course, not all responsibilities lie with the supervising driver. If for example, the learner was to break the speed limit, this penalty would go on their licence. But when it comes to being aware of the road and the surroundings, supervising drivers must be as alert as if they were behind the wheel.

The law applies to both supervising friends and parents as well as qualified instructors.

Mobile phone driving laws

In order to legally accompany a learner, a supervising driver must fulfil the following requirements:

  • be over the age of 21
  • be qualified to drive the vehicle they are instructing in
  • be fully insured for the vehicle they are instructing in
  • have held a full, valid driving licence for a minimum of 3 years.

If a learner driver is found to be in charge of a vehicle without proper supervision, they could face penalties of up to £1,000 and six penalty points on their provisional licence.

Read our guide on what is and isn’t illegal when it comes to mobile phone driving laws to find out more.

Copyright Press Association 2019. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.

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