From Next Year, Drivers Cannot Use Their Mobile Device Whilst Stopped At Lights or In A Motorway Queue
Under government plans to toughen up on road safety laws, drivers in the UK will be banned from using a mobile device to film, search a playlist, take photos or play games as of next year.
Currently, it’s illegal to use a hand-held device to call or text someone whilst behind the wheel, unless it’s an emergency. However, from 2022, UK drivers will be also be banned from using their mobile device to conduct any of the above or they could face a £200 fine and six points on their driving licence.
According to the transport secretary, it will be easier to prosecute offenders.
“Too many deaths and injuries occur whilst mobile phones are being held,” said Grant Shapps, adding: “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.”
At the moment, police can only charge drivers with ‘dangerous driving’ which lists “using a hand-held phone or other equipment” as an example of an offence.
In 2022, the Highway Code will be updated to show the new rules, making it perfectly clear to drivers that it’s illegal to use a hand-held device whilst in a motorway queue or stopped at traffic lights.
UK drivers will still be able to use hands-free devices when driving, such as a mobile phone or a sat-nav, as long as it’s fixed in place using a cradle.
Be that as it may, drivers using their hand-held device to make a contactless payment whilst stationary will be exempt from the new rules. This means that using your mobile to pay at a drive-thru restaurant or at a road toll barrier is okay but only if the payment is made via a card reader.
It’s important that motorists take full responsibility for their driving at all times or they could face charges if a police officer believes they’re not in full control of their vehicle.
“While our roads remain among the safest in the world, we will continue working tirelessly to make them safer, including through our award-winning THINK! campaign, which challenges social norms among high-risk drivers.” said Mr Shapps.
This planned crackdown by the UK Government, comes after a public consultation which found 81% of respondents agreed with plans to toughen the law.
Mary Williams, Chief executive of Brake, the road safety charity, said the changes, coinciding with Road Safety Week (15-21 November), were “very welcome”, especially “by families suffering bereavement and catastrophic injury due to drivers being distracted by phones”.
President of the AA, Mr Edmund King, said: “By making mobile phone use as socially unacceptable as drink-driving, we are taking big steps to make our roads safer. To help ensure drivers get the message, we also need more cops in cars to help catch and deter those still tempted to pick up.”
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