Is it illegal to use your phones maps when driving?
We all know that using your hand-held mobile phone on the move, either to make texts or calls, is illegal. The law states that you may only pick up your phone while driving to dial 999 or 112, or for another type of emergency – otherwise, you stand to get a fixed fine of €60 and two penalty points on your licence; and if you decide to go to court to fight it and get convicted, then you’ll potentially receive four penalty points and a fine of up to €2,000.
Serious stuff, right? But, nowadays, lots of people use their phones for satnav – be that through Google Maps or Waze or various other routing apps. It’s why the manufacturers have begun to support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, because car owners are happier using their smartphone’s interfaces than they are the software designed by the automotive companies themselves.
But will you get a fine if you’re using your phone’s maps on the move? Well, only if you hold it in your hands or support it with your body.
In essence, it’s the handling of the phone that’s illegal, not using it. You can make calls on your phone in the car, provided it is linked up to the car’s Bluetooth system. And the same thing applies to the navigation apps – as long as you put your destination in prior to driving off, and you have the phone safely mounted in a bracket that allows you to look at the screen without touching the phone, then you will be absolutely fine in the eyes of the law.
The reason handling the phone is frowned upon is because it takes one of your hands out of play, meaning you cannot use all of the major controls of the car while you’re holding the phone, and it can take your eyes off the road for too long at a time. It’s why, even if you’ve got your phone hooked up to the car, you’re not allowed to read and/or respond to text messages, because they’re too involved and distracting. Either call the person in question, or just wait until you’ve arrived at your destination and switched the car off before texting back.