New motoring regulation 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 present be fined £200 and hit with six penalty factors.

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Nevertheless, the wording of the regulation, 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 take note of the vary of features of contemporary telephones and ban any telephone use whereas driving

The modifications 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 visitors lights or in visitors jams.

Underneath the present regulation, drivers are banned from utilizing handheld gadgets for “interactive communication”, akin to making calls, checking messages, emails and viewing web sites. Nevertheless, acts akin to taking photographs or movies whereas driving don’t depend as interactive, permitting drivers a possible escape from punishment.

Underneath the modifications, the regulation shall be expanded to make it an offence to make use of a telephone or different handheld system for non-connected cell software actions. This can embody:

  • Illuminating the display screen
  • Unlocking the system
  • Checking the time
  • Checking notifications
  • Rejecting a name
  • Composing textual content messages or emails to avoid wasting in drafts
  • Taking photographs or movies
  • Utilizing the telephone’s digital camera as a mirror
  • Looking for music saved on the telephone
  • Looking for photographs or different photographs saved within the telephone
  • Dictating voice messages into the telephone
  • Studying a ebook downloaded on the telephone
  • Enjoying a sport downloaded on the telephone

An exception shall be made for utilizing contactless fee by way of a telephone at areas akin to drive-through eating places.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps mentioned: “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 regulation is introduced into the twenty first century whereas additional defending all highway customers.”

The information has been welcomed by security campaigners.

RAC highway security spokesman Simon Williams mentioned: “As our telephones have grow to be extra subtle, the regulation has not stored tempo and this has allowed some drivers who’ve been utilizing their handheld telephones for functions apart from speaking to take advantage of 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 sport.

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

Mary Williams OBE, chief govt of highway security charity Brake, mentioned: “Driver distraction could be lethal and utilizing a hand-held telephone on the wheel isn’t well worth the danger. This essential highway security choice by authorities, coinciding with Street Security Week, could be very welcomed.”

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