A McDonald’s drive-thru is a treat we all love to take part in.
A delicious meal delivered through your window without even having to get out of your car.
And to make it even easier, the fast food giant has created an app so you can order on your phone while you queue at the drive-thru – making it even quicker to get your burger and fries.
However, motorists are now being warned of fines which could occur while doing so.
Ordering food on your phone while in the queue for McDonald’s can result in a maximum fine of £1,000 and six points on your licence, because even though you’re on private land and not moving you could be breaching rules on using a handset while driving.
Placing orders using the chain’s phone app to speed things up could therefore prove an expensive mistake.
According to the RAC guide to mobile online law, it states: “If your engine is running, your phone should be nowhere near your hands. This is still the case if the engine stops automatically to save fuel (called ‘start-stop technology). As to whether you’re safe on private land – any road the public has free access to is covered by the laws.
RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis told Mirror Money: “Every driver should always ensure they are parked and have their engine switched off before using a handheld phone – anything else could land them in trouble, even if they are in a car park, drive-thru or petrol forecourt.”
The penalty for being caught using a handheld device while driving is six penalty points and a £200 fine, which means you’ll automatically lose your licence if you passed your driving test within the last two years.
You could also be taken to court by the police if they think yours is an extreme case where you can be banned from driving and receive a maximum fine of £1,000 – rising to £2,500 if you’re driving a lorry or bus. Deciding whether it is or is not an extreme case is down to the authorities.
Even though it is incredibly unlikely the police staking out car parks and drive thrus, it doesn’t mean there’s no risk. So far police have been present at the Lancashire McDonald’s site to help manage the volume of traffic.
And a passing patrol is well within its rights to fine you and add points to your licence if they see you.
What’s worse is if there’s an accident, and for instance the person behind you in the queue bumps into you – and the CCTV is looked at you’re definitely in trouble. To avoid this is to make sure you don’t order or pay by phone when queueing for a drive-thu, or get a passenger to do it for you.
If you only discover you’ve left your wallet at home after you’ve collected the food, and need to use your phone to pay, it might be OK if you make sure you pull to the side and turn off your engine.