In the TV series 24 you can see Jack Bauer, an American, driving a car around in London while he is talking on the phone with someone. One hand is holding the phone.

Here in Germany this is not allowed and you have to pay fines if you get caught. Is this different in the UK? Or maybe it's because he is from the United States and not used to it?

Could be also badass behaviour because he is an anti-hero?

Here's the link to the episode info. It would be s09e11, but they renamed the series, so it's s01e11. The phone scene is around 19 minutes in.

  • 3
    Well, being illegal doesn't really stop anyone from doing it. Likewise are all the people doing this everyday probably not "anti-heros" either. ;-)
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 8:19
  • As a UK resident I can assure you that, despite it being illegal, I see handheld mobile phone use every day.
    – jonrsharpe
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 12:27
  • 2
    And of course Jack Bauer is known for following the rules ;) Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 13:42

1 Answer 1


In the UK, it is illegal to use your phone while driving unless it's an emergency and you're calling the emergency services (999), from the UK government website:

It’s illegal to ride a motorcycle or drive using hand-held phones or similar devices.

You can get an automatic fixed penalty notice if you’re caught using a hand-held phone while driving or riding. You’ll get 3 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £100.

Your case could also go to court and you could be disqualified from driving or riding and get a maximum fine of £1,000.

If you’re the driver, 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

In the US, it's generally legal though it's up to the state government, however in California, which the first 6 seasons were primarily set in, it's illegal.

However, the scene before the advert break in which you last see Jack before the driving scene you mention, he's at the CIA station in London with Kate, so I think it's a fair assumption that he's in a CIA (or US government/embassy) issued vehicle, which the police would be able to tell from the automatic license plate readers, so it's quite unlikely he'd actually be pulled over for it, unless of course it will be used to add dramatic tension to a chase scene in the next episode.

  • 2
    very thorough answer, thank you! also the part about the license plates.
    – sams
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 0:02
  • 3
    Could you imagine if they used that as a tension builder in this mini-season? Jack's out to stop the world going to hell, and he gets pulled over by a cop because he was using his cell phone? That would be hilarious.
    – MattD
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 0:21
  • 1
    Related: collegehumor.com/video/3052195/24-the-unaired-1994-pilot Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 1:46
  • It's also illegal in Washington.
    – Milo
    Commented Jul 12, 2014 at 0:29
  • Pretty sure it's illegal in most states, now. Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 10:32

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