Motorists could now face prosecution for holding a mobile phone while driving as the Government announces plans to close a legal loophole.
Currently, laws around using a mobile phone at the wheel only relate to their use for “interactive purposes” i.e. making calls and texts, which has led to some motorists who have been caught taking photos or filming having their prosecutions quashed.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has now said it will revise the legislation in order to bring it more up to date with smartphone technology. The new legislation is set to state that “any driver caught using a hand-held phone behind the wheel can be prosecuted whether they are texting, taking photos, browsing the internet or scrolling through a music playlist.”
Transport secretary Grant Shapps has said the use of hand-held mobile phones is putting lives at risk as drivers are “hindering their ability to spot hazards and react in time”.
He added, “This review will look to tighten up the existing law to bring it into the 21st century, preventing reckless driving and reduce accidents on our roads.”
This news has been widely welcomed by road safety charities, particularly when statistics have shown that 683 casualties, including 29 deaths and 118 serious injuries, were caused in crashes where the driver was using a mobile phone. However; some, including the Commons’ Transport Select Committee, have suggested the plans should go even further and include a ban on hands-free use too although the DfT have not included this in their plans.
The DfT expects the proposals to be in place by Spring 2020.
At present, drivers caught using a mobile phone at the wheel face six points on their license and a £200 fine (this was raised from 3 points and £100 in March 2017).
Farleys’ driving offence experts can provide up to date legal advice relating to driving whilst using a mobile phone. To speak to a member of the team call 0845 287 0939 or send your enquiry through our online contact form.