Legislation loophole in drivers using mobile phones to be closed

Consultation has opened on new plans to close a legislation loophole around using a mobile phone behind the wheel

Motorist using a mobile phone behind the wheel

Using a mobile phone to take photos, play games or scroll through a playlist while driving is to be outlawed under new plans announced by the government.

Consultation is underway to close a ‘legislation loophole’ that criminalises using a mobile phone to call or text while driving, but not for other actions.  

These actions are currently not deemed ‘interactive communication’ and escape the present definition of an offence.

Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “We’re looking to strengthen the law to make using a hand-held phone while driving illegal in a wider range of circumstances.

“It’s distracting and dangerous, and for too long, risky drivers have been able to escape punishment, but this update will mean those doing the wrong thing will face the full force of the law.”

Motorists can be fined £200 and issued with 6 penalty points for using a hand-held mobile phone while driving.

The government is, however, planning an exemption to deal with modern smartphones being used as a method of payment, such as at drive-thrus.

Such contactless payments will be exempted, if the vehicle is stationary and the goods or services are delivered immediately.

AA president Edmund King OBE said: “Phones do so much more than calls and texts, so it’s only right that the law is changed to keep pace with technology. Tweets, TikTok and Instagram snaps can all wait until you park up.

“If you cannot resist the temptation to pick up your phone, then you should convert your glovebox into a phone box.”

Motorists will still be able to use hands-free functions, such as sat nav on a device secured in a cradle, after ministers rejected calls to go further and ban hands-free smartphone use entirely.

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Richard Aucockhttps://www.motoringresearch.com/
Richard is director at Motoring Research. He has been with us since 2001, and has been a motoring journalist even longer. He won the IMCO Motoring Writer of the Future Award in 1996 and the acclaimed Sir William Lyons Award in 1998. Both awards are run by the Guild of Motoring Writers and Richard is currently chairman of the world's largest organisation for automotive media professionals. Richard is also a juror for World Car Awards and the UK juror for the AUTOBEST awards.

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