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Mobile Phone Regulations Tightened

19 November 2021

RoadSafe welcomes the publication by the UK government of its response to a consultation on the use of hand held mobile phones whilst driving. The government considers that all use of a hand-held mobile phone while driving is reckless and dangerous, and not just when being used for the purposes of a call or other interactive communication.

This will enable prosecution regulations tightened.

  • Police will soon be able to more easily prosecute drivers using a hand-held mobile phone at the wheel after the government strengthens existing laws to further improve road safety.
  • It is already illegal to text or make a phone call (other than in an emergency) using a hand-held device while driving. Next year, laws will go further to ban drivers from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games.
  • This will mean anyone caught using their hand-held device while driving will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and 6 points on their licence.

Drivers will still be able to continue using a device ‘hands-free’ while driving, such as a sat-nav, if it’s secured in a cradle. They must, however, always take responsibility for their driving and can be charged with an offence if the police find them not to be in proper control of their vehicle.

It carried out a consultation exercise proposing that the offence of using a hand-held mobile phone be broadened to cover standalone use as well as interactive communication. The government hopes this will make it easier for the police to carry out their enforcement responsibilities. Further details can be found here.

A research report to support legal and advisory measures to discourage mobile phone use while driving has also been published. Key findings are:

  • Mobile phones are a growing presence in motorists’ journeys and motorists describe an increasing dependence on their mobile phones
  • A sizeable minority ‘admitted’ to non-compliant mobile phone use both while the vehicle is in motion and stationary, especially younger motorists
  • Most are generally aware handheld mobile phone is illegal while driving/riding, but are less likely to know the consequences.

The findings suggest that tackling mobile phone use while driving may be more complex than greater enforcement measures, or interventions which discourage people from having access to their phones while driving. A  consistent pattern throughout the research programme was that that younger motorists exhibit a greater risk profile where mobile phone use while driving is concerned.  The research report is available here.

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