If drivers swipe or touch the display screen to make or receive phone calls, they are not breaking the law as long as they are using hands-free kits or holders for their smartphones.
This is in order with rule 17A of the Road Traffic Rules 1959 which states that the use of a mobile phone while operating a vehicle is prohibited except while using a hands-free kit or holder.
According to Commissioner Datuk Seri Mat Kasim Karim of the Federal Police’s Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department, it is against the law for drivers to use phones while their vehicles are moving or while stopped at a stoplight or in traffic congestion. Drivers are seen as still being in “active driving mode” under such circumstances, he claimed.
This big commotion about this is due to recent events where a woman in Penang was issued a summon to appear before a magistrate in August for using her mobile phone while driving. She had the phone on her lap and at a roundabout, she held up the phone for just a couple of seconds to double-check the direction while using a navigation application.
According to Mat Kasim, dropping a mobile on the floor of a moving car by mistake and attempting to pick it up while operating the vehicle can also be dangerous since it can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
According to The Star, he claimed that drivers can only use their cellphones by pulling over at a parking lot in the absence of a holder or hands-free kit. He also warned drivers that it is illegal to stop in the emergency lane without a proper cause.
In 2020, the police declared that it was illegal to use a mobile while operating a motor vehicle without utilising holders or hands-free devices.
Those who get a summons for the infraction will be taken to court and might be sentenced to a fine of up to RM1,000 or up to three months in jail. Repeat offenders are subject to a doubling penalty.