You could be breaking the law paying for food at a drive-thru after mobile driving laws were toughened

Drivers could be prosecuted for using Apple Pay at takeaway drive-thru services under tough new rules on using mobile phones while in the car.

Drivers will be forced to turn their engine off and apply the handbrake to stay away from the law once new penalties are enforced from this month.

Under the new laws, people seen holding their mobile phone while driving will be handed six penalty points and a £200 fine – rather than the former three points and a £100 fine.

But what if you’re parked up at a drive-thru?

Facebook app on a smartphone
Smartphones allow people to pay instead of using a normal credit card
(Photo: PA)

The legal conundrum was raised by Jay Chase on Twitter, who asked twitter account GMP Traffic if he could use Apple Pay at McDonalds drive thru without losing his licence, as technically it would count as using a phone while driving.

The answer was pretty clear – if your engine is off and handbrake applied then it’s fine, but if it’s not, then you could be penalised, the Manchester Evening News reports.

GMP Traffic said: “If your engine is off and your handbrake applied and you’re parked yes. If your engine is on NO.”

McDonald's drive thru and restaurant in Byker
McDonald’s
(Photo: Chronicle Live)

Jay, who lives in Stockport and works at a cash convertors in Manchester, said: “My friend is a special constable and we were trying to work out what the law is surrounding using your phone to pay at McDonald’s Drive Thru, especially as the new tougher penalties have come in for drivers using their phones.

“It raises another point as well, what if you are sitting in your car on your phone and the engine is on to warm up?”

It’s illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device while driving, or riding a motorcycle.

The rules are the same if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.

UK law states that you can only use your phone in a vehicle if you need to call 999 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop, or if you are safely parked.

If caught using your phone behind the wheel, you could end up with six penalty points on your licence and a £200 fine.

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