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Law on mobile phone use at the wheel to be tightened

The law on driver using a mobile phone to call or text while driving is to be tightened to cover filming and taking pictures too

THE government has today announced it is to close a loophole that could have prevented those using a mobile phone at the wheel from being prosecuted.

At present, the law only prevents drivers from using a hand-held mobile phone to call or text. Leaving those using the phone to take pictures or film able to escaped punishment. In the past, lawyers have successfully argued this activity does not fit into the ‘interactive communication’ currently required to obtain a successful prosecution.

The new legislation will mean that any driver caught calling, texting, taking pictures, filming video, scrolling through social media, the internet or changing songs on their playlist will now be prosecuted in the same way.

Transport Secretary, Grant Schapps said:

“We recognise that staying in touch with the world while travelling is an essential part of modern-day life but we are also committed to making our roads safe.”

“Drivers who use a hand-held mobile phone are hindering their ability to spot hazards and react in time – putting people’s lives at risk.”

“We welcome the Transport Select Committee’s report, and share their drive to make our roads even safer which is why 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.”

What is the impact of mobile phone use while driving?

Research has shown that if a driver looks at their phone for just two seconds while travelling at 30mph, they will travel 100-feet without being able to see what is going on ahead. So that’s 100-feet where a child, elderly person, lorry, car or motorcycle could pull out in front of them.

Nick Lloyd, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said:

“Drivers who use their phones are up to 4 times more likely to crash. RoSPA highlighted this loophole in the summer and is delighted that such prompt action is being taken to ensure that all hand-held mobile phone use is to be prohibited, making our roads safer for all.”

“This action comes alongside further measures to tackle phone use while driving, including a review of road traffic policing and wider traffic enforcement to look at how roads policing currently works, its effectiveness, and where improvements could be made.”

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