Home Menu Search

Next steps announced to close mobile phone loophole

18 October 2020

Next steps announced to boost road safety and close mobile phone loophole.  UK DfT has launched a consultation on making activities like taking photos and playing games on hand-held mobile phones illegal while driving.

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 on 17 October 2020 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.

Now, following a review of the offence, a consultation has been launched on bringing the law into line with modern technology  – meaning drivers caught taking photos, playing games or scrolling through a playlist behind the wheel will be clearly breaking the law on mobile phone use.

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 set out by government today to contactless payments, if a vehicle is stationary, and if goods or services – such as a takeaway meal – are delivered immediately.

The proposals come as new research gives a further snapshot into driver behaviour in the UK.

Full details of the proposals are available here. The consultation closes on 21 Jan 2021.  The consultation closes on 21 Jan 2021.

Related news, events and information

Government acts to improve road safety by closing mobile phone loophole

5 November 2019 – The government has confirmed it will close a legal loophole which has allowed drivers to escape prosecution for...

Tough new penalties for illegal mobile phone use from 27 February 2007

28 January 2007 – Motorists face tough new penalties for breaking the law by using a hand-held mobile phone while driving from...

Mobile Phone Laws are Getting Tougher!

27 February 2007 – From 27 February 2007, the fixed penalty notice for using a hand held phone or similar hand held device while...

Mobile phone penalties to increase

8 November 2016 – The UK Department for Transport has published its plans to double the penalties for drivers using hand-held...

Penalty increase for mobile phone use

28 February 2017 – In UK it’s been illegal to use a hand held mobile phone while driving, or while stopped with the engine on,...

Drivers back tougher penalties for using mobile phones

6 July 2009 – Almost one-in-three motorists want six-month driving bans to be imposed on those using mobile phones while...

A 'Hands-Free' ban: a company-wide driving for work policy

29 April 2010 – At-work driving safety initiatives introduced by diversified technology company 3M - including a ban on all...

GB Government to introduce tougher penalties for mobile phone use whilst driving

20 September 2016 – In a recently published report 41% of motorists told the RAC that people using phones while driving is in their...

Hands free is dangerous

1 August 2006 – New research suggests that using a hands-free kit while at the wheel is as dangerous as drink driving. The...