New law to prevent all hand-held phone use while driving

The UK Government has said it will close a legal loophole that has allowed drivers to escape prosecution for using a mobile phone behind the wheel.

It is illegal for drivers to call or text on a handheld phone, but the law does not specifically cover filming or taking photos.

As a result, some people have escaped punishment as lawyers have successfully argued that this activity does not match the wording in the current legislation — which says it is illegal to use a device “which performs an interactive communication” while driving.

In July a man successfully appealed a conviction for filming a crash by arguing that he was not using his phone to “communicate”.

Judges in the High Court criticised the 16-year-old law, which they said had fallen behind advances in smartphone technology, BBC News reported.

Now, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced a review to tighten up the law to include filming and taking photos as well as browsing the internet or searching playlists while driving.

“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,” he said.

Proposals are expected to be in place by next spring.

Welcoming the move, Nick Lloyd, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said: “Drivers who use their phones are up to four 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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