Currently reading: Government tightens rules on mobile phone usage while driving
Filming, taking photos and selecting music will all be specifically banned under tightened rules
2 mins read
19 November 2021

The government is tightening the rules around mobile phone usage while driving, imposing a ban on using the devices to film, take videos, scroll through playlists and play games.

The law has been strengthened to allow police to “more easily prosecute drivers using a hand-held mobile phone at the wheel”. It is already illegal to make calls or send texts while driving, but these new measures will criminalise use of a mobile phone “while driving under virtually any circumstance”.

The changes come into effect from 2022, ushering in a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points for anyone caught using their phone at the wheel.

However, there will be an exemption, to allow drivers to use their phones to make contactless payments – at restaurants and tolls – when stationary. The Department for Transport (DfT) said this will “ensure the law keeps pace with technology”. 

So, too, will drivers be allowed to use a phone as a sat-nav device if it is secured in a cradle. 

The changes come in the wake of a public consultation that found 81% of respondents were in favour of plans to strengthen the law. The revisions will be written into the Highway Code, with the clarification that even being stopped in traffic still counts as driving. 

In 2019, a driver who filmed a video while driving was cleared by the High Court of using his device illegally, after a judge found the law didn't specifically cover using a phone in this way. 

Transport secretary Grant Shapps explained the motivation for the tightened restrictions: “Too many deaths and injuries occur while mobile phones are being held.

"By making it easier to prosecute people illegally using their phone at the wheel, we are ensuring the law is brought into the 21st century while further protecting all road users.

“While our roads remain among the safest in the world, we will continue working tirelessly to make them safer, including through our award-winning Think! campaign, which challenges social norms among high-risk drivers."

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Peter Cavellini 21 November 2021

Here's a solution, you can only answer and make calls IF you stop, not that great a hardship to stop in a safe place, I'm sure if the mobile tech was set up to do this, then you'd have no choice, but then, some peoples lives are there mobiles.

Leslie Brook 19 November 2021

Will this stop the Top Gear guys talking to each other on hand-held walkie talkies while driving on the road?

catnip 19 November 2021

Its a step in the right direction but how much will it actually change people's behaviour? Many are confident that the chance of actually being stopped by the Police is pretty low, and, as others have said, people will still be distracted by the same activities on their centre touchscreens.

Motoring journalists really should be pulling manufacturers up about putting all these functions on central touchscreens, its a basic road safety issue, but all we get is the odd mildly disapproving comment so as not to offend.