Texting or making phone calls, except in an emergency, using a hand-held device while driving is against the law. But the tougher new law will close a loophole that many motorists are exploiting
Drivers in England, Scotland and Wales will face harsher rules when it comes to using cell phones and other devices while driving, under a law changed this month.
Under new laws from 25 March, UK motorists will not be allowed to hold any mobile devices while driving.
That also includes standing still in traffic, such as at traffic lights or queuing on a highway.
The new guidelines mean you can no longer touch your device to check the time or notifications, take photos or videos, scroll through playlists, or access any apps or the internet.
Currently, car drivers can only be fined for ‘interactive communication’ using a handheld device while driving, such as texting or making phone calls (except in an emergency).
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However, the small print of the law will be revised to close these gaps.
In 2020, the Department for Transport said 17 people had been killed on UK roads in crashes involving motorists being distracted by mobile phones.
An additional 114 people were seriously injured and 385 were slightly injured in such collisions.
Unless making an emergency call, anyone caught using their hand-held device while driving will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their driver’s license.
However, the Ministry of Transport confirmed that drivers are still exempt from tax when using their phones to pay when going to restaurants or toll roads.
The Department for Transport said in a statement: “The new law will exempt drivers from contactless payments with their mobile phones while at rest to ensure the law keeps pace with technology.
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“This exemption, for example, would cover places like drive-through restaurants or tolls and would only apply when payment is made using a card reader. It will not allow drivers to make joint payments online while driving. ”
Drivers will also still be allowed to use a device if it is ‘hands-free’ while driving. This includes ‘hands-free’ calls and using your phone as a locator, as long as it is securely held in a holder.
Keith Hawes, director of Nationwide car contract, said: “Changes to mobile phone driving laws are crucial to improving safety on UK roads. Drivers must strictly follow these rules to help reduce the number of tragic deaths due to violations.
“It’s not just mobile devices but drivers should be cautious. While no new regulations have been enforced regarding the use of the internal infotainment systems, they can be distracting for drivers.
“Touchscreens have become a popular addition to modern vehicles, and the more complex they become, the more distracting they can be. If you are found not to operate the vehicle properly by using the dashboard widgets or hands-free device, you can still be prosecuted. “
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/new-law-crack-down-drivers-26445845 New law will punish drivers who use mobile phones this month