New motoring legislation to shut harmful cell phone loophole from subsequent yr

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Transport Secretary confirms plans to make any handheld telephone use unlawful in crackdown on unsafe driving

Drivers caught utilizing a handheld telephone to make calls or ship messages whereas driving can at the moment be fined £200 and hit with six penalty factors.

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Nonetheless, the wording of the legislation, which was launched 17 years in the past, permits a loophole for drivers to make use of their telephones for different functions with out punishment.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has now confirmed that from subsequent yr the laws shall be up to date to consider the vary of capabilities of recent telephones and ban any telephone use whereas driving

The adjustments will outlaw nearly any use of a handheld telephone whereas driving

The Freeway Code may also be up to date to make it clear it’s unlawful to make use of a telephone when stopped at site visitors lights or in site visitors jams.

Below the present legislation, drivers are banned from utilizing handheld gadgets for “interactive communication”, reminiscent of making calls, checking messages, emails and viewing web sites. Nonetheless, acts reminiscent of taking pictures or movies whereas driving don’t rely as interactive, permitting drivers a possible escape from punishment.

Below the adjustments, the legislation shall be expanded to make it an offence to make use of a telephone or different handheld machine for non-connected cell software actions. This can embody:

  • Illuminating the display screen
  • Unlocking the machine
  • Checking the time
  • Checking notifications
  • Rejecting a name
  • Composing textual content messages or emails to avoid wasting in drafts
  • Taking pictures or movies
  • Utilizing the telephone’s digicam as a mirror
  • Trying to find music saved on the telephone
  • Trying to find pictures or different pictures saved within the telephone
  • Dictating voice messages into the telephone
  • Studying a guide downloaded on the telephone
  • Enjoying a recreation downloaded on the telephone

An exception shall be made for utilizing contactless cost by way of a telephone at places reminiscent of drive-through eating places.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps stated: “Too many deaths and accidents happen whereas cell phones are being held.

“By making it simpler to prosecute individuals illegally utilizing their telephone on the wheel, we’re guaranteeing the legislation is introduced into the twenty first century whereas additional defending all street customers.”

The information has been welcomed by security campaigners.

RAC street security spokesman Simon Williams stated: “As our telephones have develop into extra refined, the legislation has not stored tempo and this has allowed some drivers who’ve been utilizing their handheld telephones for functions apart from speaking to use a loophole and keep away from the utmost penalty.

“Our analysis means that greater than one-in-10 youthful drivers admit to taking a photograph or video whereas driving, whereas 6% say they’ve performed a recreation.

“Whereas immediately’s announcement is clearly excellent news, it’s completely important that the brand new legislation is vigorously enforced in any other case there’s a danger that it received’t ship the type of behaviour change that may make our roads safer.”

Mary Williams OBE, chief government of street security charity Brake, stated: “Driver distraction will be lethal and utilizing a hand-held telephone on the wheel is rarely definitely worth the danger. This essential street security resolution by authorities, coinciding with Highway Security Week, may be very welcomed.”

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