It is now illegal for drivers in the UK to use a handheld mobile phone under virtually any circumstance while behind the wheel.

Under new laws introduced this month, people are breaking the law if they use a handheld mobile phone while driving for any use, including to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games.

Anyone caught using their handheld device while driving could face a fine of up to £1,000 as well as six points on their licence or a full driving ban.

“I will do everything in my power to keep road-users safe, which is why I am taking a zero-tolerance approach to those who decide to risk lives by using their phone behind the wheel,” said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. “I’m ensuring anyone who chooses to break this vital law can face punishment for doing so and we’ll continue our efforts to ensure our roads remain among the safest in the world.”

The government’s THINK! team is also launching an £800,000 awareness campaign to remind drivers not to use a handheld phone at the wheel and of the penalties if choosing to ignore this new law.

Millions of young people will start seeing the adverts in the coming weeks, showing friends appearing in the back seat to intervene when the driver becomes tempted to use their phone behind the wheel.

Drivers are still able to make contactless payments, for example, at drive-throughs, so long as their vehicle is stationary. They can also still use a device ‘hands-free’ while driving if it’s secured in a cradle, allowing motorists to use their phone as a sat-nav. They must, however, always take responsibility for their driving and can be charged with an offence if the police find them not to be in proper control of their vehicle.