Listen to email handsfree - UK laws on mobile phones and driving

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Q: How about UK laws on mobile phones and driving?

A: In the UK you must use your phone hands-free only. That means you can use Speaking Email to read your inbox out to you but not archive, star or reply. You can listen to your emails, which will be read out in order of your inbox with unread first, but not swipe or tap the screen.


There are a couple of settings and preferences you may like to switch on. 

  • Preference - Read next email automatically (already on by default)
  • Preference - Cut off when reply detected (this skips to the next email when the end of the email is reached, including the start of a reply or forward thread or an email signature)
  • Preference - Cut off long emails (you can set Speaking Email to stop when any email is too long, and go on to the next - you can set how many sentences to read before it's considered too long)
  • Account Setting - Play unplayed emails first (this means it will not read out the same email again ever - it will read out new emails or any emails you have not previously listened to)
  • Account Setting - Mark as Read when speaking (you may wish to turn this on to mark any emails you've listened to as "read" on your mail server - many people like to have them still unread when they get to their desk but its up to you)


For the official word see the gov.uk site for laws and regulations in the UK on mobile phone usage while driving (or see think campaign for advice on mobile phone road safety, driver distraction, texting and driving).


What is Speaking Email?

An app for iPhone and Android that reads your email out loud to you. It intelligently extracts content from emails (minus the signatures, disclaimers and threads). And it lets you action your email - archive, mark-as-read, trash, flag, reply, or forward. It can be completely by voice command, or use the large on-screen buttons or full screen touch gestures.


Who is it for?

People with blindness or visual impairment. People who are busy and run out of time to get through their inbox. People who want to make productive use of time when driving between appointments.


Do you have Apple CarPlay?

See our other product Speaking Email CarPlay.


Find out more