All About the New Mobile Phone Laws
The New Mobile Phone Laws
From March 25 2022, UK police will find it easier to prosecute drivers for using handheld mobile phones while driving (unless it’s an emergency) after new government legislation comes into force.
It’s been illegal since 2003 to use a handheld device to text or call while driving, but the new mobile phone laws will ban drivers from using their devices to play games, take photos or videos or to scroll through online playlists. Anyone caught using a handheld for any of these purposes will receive a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence.
Drivers will still be able to use a hands-free device while driving, but only if it’s secured in a cradle. As ever, though, drivers must exercise due care and caution when driving as they could still be charged with careless or negligent driving if police deem them not to be in proper control.
The UK’s Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said that there were too many deaths and injuries occurring while drivers held mobile phones. The new government laws, he added, would make it easier for police to prosecute drivers who illegally used their mobile phones while driving, making the roads safer for all users and pedestrians.
Even though the UK’s roads are among the safest in the world, said Shapps, the government would continue to work to make them even safer. This work would include the Think! Campaign, which aims to make higher-risk drivers consider and reflect upon their driving behaviour.
The UK public wanted safer roads
The new laws come after a public consultation which found that 81% of respondents supported new laws to help to prevent at-wheel mobile phone usage.
The government will update The Highway Code to include this new legislation and to explain the new laws and measures. The new legislation will make it clear that being stationary in traffic is also deemed to be driving, making device use at traffic lights or in jams illegal in most circumstances.
Drivers can still make contactless payments
Under the new laws, drivers can still use their mobile devices to make contactless payments as long as their vehicle is stationary. Places like road toll booths and drive-through restaurants are covered, and these exemptions will only apply to the use of card readers. Using a device to make an online payment of any other kind while driving (even if stationary), for example paying a household bill, will still be outlawed.
The new legislation will make driving safer for everyone
The road safety charity Brake! has welcomed the new laws, as it believes that driver distraction is potentially deadly. The laws come into force during Road Safety Week, which in 2022 has the theme of road safety heroes, and Brake! says that every driver can be a hero simply by not using a handheld device while driving.
The research also found that younger drivers in particular are more likely to have used – or think it’s safe to use – a handheld device while they’re driving. This demographic is the target of the government’s THINK! Campaign, which aims to inform younger drivers and influence their driving behaviour to make it safer.