From December 1, it will be illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving.
However, the legislation states that, providing a phone can be operated without holding it, hands-free equipment is not prohibited by the new regulation.
It is the actual holding of the phone which will be the offence, with drivers penalised for all activities associated with making or receiving calls, sending text messages, accessing the internet or using video phones.
The legislation also covers other electronic devices such as palm pilots and personal organisers – or anything that needs to be held while driving.
It will be illegal to use hand-held phones in traffic jams and at traffic lights. However, if the mobile phone is in a cradle, drivers will be able to push a button to activate a hands-free system, as long as they do not pick up the phone to do so.
On the question of whether employers can be guilty of an offence if their employees use a hand-held phone while driving, the DfT says: 'The new regulations apply to 'anyone who causes or permits any other person' to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving.
'The department considers that employers would not be liable just because they supplied a telephone or because they phoned an employee who was driving.
'However, employers would probably be liable if they required their employees to use a hand-held phone while driving and might also be liable if they failed to forbid employees to use such phones on company business.'
What is banned