The government is strengthening existing laws that make it illegal to use a cell phone while driving under virtually all circumstances. The move follows a public consultation that found 81% of people supported the proposals.
It is already illegal to text or make a phone call (except in an emergency) using a portable device while driving. Next year, laws will go further to ban drivers from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games.
This means that anyone caught using their handheld device while driving will face a fixed fine of Â£ 200 and six points on their license.
Drivers will still be able to continue to use a âhands-freeâ device while driving, such as a satellite navigation system, if it is mounted in a cradle. However, they must always take responsibility for their driving and can be charged with an offense if the police find they are not in proper control of their vehicle.
Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said: âToo many deaths and injuries occur while cell phones are being detained.
âBy making it easier to prosecute people who use their phones illegally while driving, we are ensuring that the law enters the 21st century while further protecting all road users.
âAlthough our roads remain among the safest in the world, we will continue to work tirelessly to make them safer, in particular thanks to our THINK! countryside, which challenges social norms among high risk drivers.
Earlier this month, SHP covered how to make sure your GPS is fit for purpose.
Following the public consultation, the government will revise The Highway Code to explain the new measures. It will also be more specific on the fact that being stationary in traffic counts as driving, specifying that the use of a cell phone by hand at traffic lights or in traffic jams is illegal, except in very rare circumstances. limited.
There will be an exemption from the new law for drivers making contactless payment using their stationary cell phones to ensure the law keeps pace with technology.
This exemption will cover, for example, places like a restaurant with drive-thru or a road toll and will only apply when payment is made with a card reader. It will not allow motorists to make general online payments while driving.
With employees who drive for business are more likely to be killed on the job than scuba divers or coal miners, driver safety is a vital business consideration.
Download this eBook from Driving for Better Business and SHP to cover:
- The danger of the roads;
- Compare road safety in the UK with the rest of Europe;
- Risk reduction: Avoid accidents;
- Good practices in road safety;
- What is fleet risk?
- Management of road safety at work.