New law set to make all mobile phone use while driving illegal
The government is set to introduce new laws that will make it illegal to use a mobile phone or hand-held device for almost any reason while driving.
It’s already illegal to text or make a phone call while driving unless it’s an emergency.
But the new rules are set to be introduced next year that will specifically ban using a mobile phone to scroll through music playlists, play games, and take photos or videos.
What do the changes mean?
Anyone who is caught using a hand-held device while driving will be hit with a £200 fixed penalty notice, plus six points on their licence.
Drivers will still be able to use a device hands-free, though. So, for any drivers that use sat-navs secured in a cradle or even use their mobile phone for navigation, they’ll be able to continue to do so, as long as they do it hands-free.
But if police deem that a driver isn’t in ‘proper control’ of their vehicle while operating a hand-held device, they can be charged with careless driving.
The news follows Transport Secretary Grant Shapps stating that too many incidents occur on the road as a result of mobile phone use.
He said: “By making it easier to prosecute people illegally using their phone at the wheel, we are ensuring the law is brought into the 21st century while further protecting all road users.
“While our roads remain among the safest in the world, we will continue working tirelessly to make them safer.”
The government believe that by making it easier to prosecute people that are illegally using their phone while driving they’ll protect road users and reduce the number of incidents on UK roads.
Why have the changes come into effect?
UK roads are statistically some of the safest in the world, but the new laws should make them even safer, given the more prevalent use of mobile phones for navigation, playing music, and other reasons while driving.
It comes after consultation last year to close loopholes in the law around the use of mobile phones while driving, which meant that taking photos wasn’t included as a specific offence.
The issue was that the law was written in 2003 when smartphones didn’t exist, and mobile phones were used predominantly for text messages and phone calls.
After a high-profile case in which a conviction was overturned following a driver using their mobile phone to film an incident, the government launched the consultation which will now result in the changes to the law.
The highway code will also be revised to clearly explain the new measures, as well as being more precise in the legislation, such as clarifying that being stationary in traffic counts as driving – i.e. it’s illegal to use mobile phones at traffic lights and in traffic jams.
There will be an exemption for making contactless payments while stationary at drive-throughs and toll booths, though.
Are you aware of the new laws around mobile phone use while driving? Do your drivers utilise phones for navigation or other reasons while driving? Let us know at email@example.com