Currently reading: Government to close mobile phone use 'loophole'
Transport secretary will change the law to ensure drivers can be prosecuted for filming or surfing the web behind the wheel
James Attwood, digital editor
News
2 mins read
1 November 2019

Transport secretary Grant Shapps is aiming to "urgently" tighten the laws surrounding mobile phone use while driving to ensure motorists can be prosecuted for taking photographs or for using the internet.

The current law prevents drivers from using a hand-held mobile phone for 'interactive communication' – essentially to make calls or text – without a hands-free system. A number of people caught using their phones to take photos or film while driving have escaped prosecution because their lawyers successfully argued such activity does not fit that description.

The government will now take forward a review that will tighten up the law to ensure that any driver caught texting, taking photos, browsing the internet or scrolling through a music playlist while driving can be prosecuted.

Shapps said: “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. Drivers who use a hand-held mobile phone are hindering their ability to spot hazards and react in time – putting people’s lives at risk.”

The change to the law, which follows recommendations in a report by the Transport Select Committee, will prevent “reckless driving and reduce accidents on our roads”, according to Shapps.

Government research shows that a driver looking at a phone for two seconds while travelling at 30mph will travel blind for 100 feet. 

Ministers are also looking at the current penalties in place for hand-held mobile phone use while driving. However, there are no plans to ban hands-free phone use.The government expects the new proposals to be in place by early 2020.

Read more

Mobile phone use while driving should be banned entirely, say MPs

Driver who filmed video on phone cleared by high court 

Government to enforce zero-tolerance policy for drivers caught using mobile phones

 

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Join the debate

Comments
12

1 November 2019
Admirable. However, I presume it will still be legal to do all of the illegal stuff via mirroring software in your cars infotainment system?

289

2 November 2019

.....from Grant Shapps that "staying in touch with the world is essential part of the modern world" ......it isnt, its just that we have stupidly convinced ourselves that it is.

Its all part of the 'Smart (read stupid) Phone phenonema, where people cant bear to be parted from their security blanket.

None of it is 'essential' - we all managed really well before this demanding mistress was invented....nobody was disadvanteged, the world kept turning and the sky didnt fall in.

We need to get real and make all mobile phones shut-down/unworkable in excess of 5 mph. So easy technically.  End of discussion Grant, get on with it!

2 November 2019
Cheltenhamshire wrote:

Admirable. However, I presume it will still be legal to do all of the illegal stuff via mirroring software in your cars infotainment system?

 

There's still a contradiction without the screen mirrring , Android Auto or Apple car play.. alot of the massive touchscreen display are as much of a distraction  .. if they ban mobile phones, then thee other touchscreen need to be looked at !!

1 November 2019

Read this on BBC this morning. I don't get it, why the 'loophole'?

1: If you're taking photos or video whilst driving then whatever happened to being charged using 'driving with undue care and attention' (or whatever it's called these days?)

2: What's the difference betwween 'touching' your mobile and going thru the various menus and playing around with the sat-nav on your infotainment?

We really do excel at over complicating the most simplest of solutions.

 

 

1 November 2019

I can only assume that everyone else in the world is much better at multi-tasking than I am. I can't even have a hands-free conversation on the phone without it taking my attention away from my driving, let alone send a text or fiddle with some silly touchscreen. I enjoy my driving so I just stick to that instead.

1 November 2019
catnip wrote:

I can only assume that everyone else in the world is much better at multi-tasking than I am. I can't even have a hands-free conversation on the phone without it taking my attention away from my driving, let alone send a text or fiddle with some silly touchscreen. I enjoy my driving so I just stick to that instead.

I take it you also have similar problems with talking to passengers and therefore dont if you are carrying any ?

 

Why cant they also introduce fines for not indicating ? This most basic of rules is flouted by about 80% of motorists, it shoul include indicating in the wrong circumstances as well, ie two exits BEFORE the one youre gonna take.

 

 

3 November 2019
typos1 wrote:

catnip wrote:

I can only assume that everyone else in the world is much better at multi-tasking than I am. I can't even have a hands-free conversation on the phone without it taking my attention away from my driving, let alone send a text or fiddle with some silly touchscreen. I enjoy my driving so I just stick to that instead.

I take it you also have similar problems with talking to passengers and therefore dont if you are carrying any ?

 

 

Its a totally different thing. People in the same environment as myself are more aware when I'm having to concentrate more.

1 November 2019

There's no use introducing new rules if no one is going to enforce them.

1 November 2019
Luap wrote:

There's no use introducing new rules if no one is going to enforce them.

They don't need people to enforce, there are cameras that can catch you using a phone apparently.

As said surely everything could be bundled under driving with undue care and attention? Why was another law required? It just needed advertising that using your phone whilst driving will get you prosecuted.

1 November 2019

As with all laws, simplicity produces vagueness and then the devil arrives in the detail. So 'driving without due care' sounded like a great control against mobile users. Then someone said, "But what about if I am just...?" And so the exclusions,  inclusions, sub-clauses and complex lengthy individual court cases began! I'm concerned that cameras will be used to determine whether offences are carried out. How well does that work for parking?

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review