Government aims to close loophole on drivers using mobiles

In a bid to help bolster enforcement and improve safe driving behaviour, the Department for Transport has launched a consultation on mobile phone use to bring the law into line with modern technology.

People using a hand-held mobile phone in all circumstances while driving will be breaking the law, under new government plans unveiled by Roads Minister Baroness Vere to close a legislation loophole and improve road safety. 

It’s already a criminal offence to use a hand-held mobile phone to call or text while driving, but not for other actions such as taking photos. While still distracting, drivers have escaped punishment due to a legal loophole where such actions aren’t seen as ‘interactive communication’, and therefore do not fit the current definition of the offence. 

The consultation, which closes in January 2021, proposes that drivers caught taking photos, playing games or scrolling through a playlist behind the wheel will be breaking the law. 

Recognising that mobile phones are commonly used as a method of payment – such as at drive-thrus – an exemption will apply under the new proposals for contactless payments, if a vehicle is stationary, and if goods or services – such as a takeaway meal – are delivered immediately. 

More information on the GOV.UK website.

More tags