“Police will soon be able to more easily prosecute drivers using a hand-held mobile phone at the wheel after the government strengthens existing laws to further improve road safety.
It is already illegal to text or make a phone call (other than in an emergency) using a hand-held 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 will mean anyone caught using their hand-held device while driving will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and 6 points on their licence.”
Under the new regulations HGV drivers will face a maximum fine of £2,500 for a mobile phone offence.
Prior to the changes a public consultation had 81% support for the law to be tightened. The new measures will also see the Highway Code revised to explain the reasoning for the new measures. It will also be clearer on how the law will be applied, including the use of phones for contactless payments, for example:
- Being stationary in traffic counts as driving, therefore use of a hand-held mobile phone in queue, jams and at traffic lights is illegal (except in very limited circumstances).
- Exemptions will exist and cover phone payments through card readers at road tolls and a drive-through restaurants. But does not cover the payment of other, more general types of online payment while driving.
Figures reported widely in the press indicate that in 2020 alone, accidents involving drivers using/distracted by mobile phones on UK roads saw:
- 17 people killed;
- 114 people were seriously injured; and
- 385 people slightly injured.
With more people returning to work and possibly returning to their cars, organisations and their line/fleet managers need to be clearly letting their employees know about the changes and the expectations of them when driving for business purposes.
The same rules apply to us all when driving for non-business purposes too of course.