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14 February 2022

Government to make it illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving ‘under any circumstance’

Government to make it illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving ‘under any circumstance’

New mobile phone laws, making it illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving under virtually any circumstance, will come into force on 25 March. The move follows a follows public consultation which found that 81% of people supported the proposals. 

It is already illegal to text or make a phone call (other than in an emergency) using a hand-held device while driving. From 25 March 2022, laws will go further to ban drivers from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games.

This will mean anyone caught using their hand-held device while driving will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence.

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.

Speaking after the announcement, Edmund King, AA President, said: “There is no excuse for picking up a mobile phone when driving so we are pleased this loophole will be closed.

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

“These new rules will clarify the law and help drivers realise that this dangerous act can have the same consequences and be as socially unacceptable as drink driving.

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

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Too many deaths and injuries occur while mobile phones are being held.

“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.”

It had been thought that the new rules would take effect alongside changes introduced to the Highway Code on 29 January. However, the Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed that the new rules will take effect from 25 March, with the necessary legislation now making its way through Parliament.

For access to government research on the use of mobile phones while driving, click here.

Source: SHP Online

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