11th February, 2022
In a bid to crackdown on road safety this year, the government are introducing new rules officially banning drivers from taking photos or videos, scrolling through playlists or playing games on handheld mobile phones.
These new rules follow on from the recent Highway Code revision and are confirmed to take effect from March 25th (you can read more about the Highway Code revision in our blog post here).
Under current UK laws, drivers are banned from texting or making a phone call other than in an emergency. However, the Department for Transport (DfT) plans to strengthen laws will make it easier to prosecute drivers using and holding their phones at the wheel.
Offences will be taken seriously and motorists who disobey will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence.
The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, 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, including through our award-winning THINK! campaign, which challenges social norms among high-risk drivers.”
Here at One Call Insurance, we welcome the implementation of these rules. Though using your phone whilst driving is generally frowned upon anyway, we feel hopeful that an official ban will help improve road safety moving forward.
A government spokesperson said: “Drivers will still be able to continue using a device ‘hands-free’ while driving, such as a sat-nav, if it’s secured in a cradle.‘’
“They must, however, always take responsibility for their driving and can be charged with an offence if the police find them not to be in proper control of their vehicle.’’
The president of the AA, Edmund King, said: “By making mobile phone use as socially unacceptable as drink-driving, we are taking big steps to make our roads safer.
“For years, the AA has campaigned hard and helped educate drivers to the dangers from bad mobile phone use.”
He called for “more cops in cars” to enforce the rules.
A public consultation also found that 81% of respondents support the proposals.
The Highway Code will also be revised so drivers understand that being stationary in traffic counts as driving and handheld mobile phone use at traffic lights or in motorway jams is illegal except in very limited circumstances.
Drivers who make a contactless payment using their mobile phone while stationary, at places like a drive-through restaurant or a road toll, will be exempt from the new law, but motorists won’t be permitted to make general online payments while driving.
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