UK Drivers could be looking at a fine of up to £200 and six penalty points added to your licence for touching your phone while driving. Due to a loophole in the current law meaning reckless drivers can only be prosecuted if they are caught holding their phones to call or text.
New state-of-the-art HD traffic cameras are yet to be installed on British roads to catch people in the act. This new law aims to ‘bring the UK into the 21st century’, says Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, making sure UK drivers aren’t using their phones to change music, take photos or film while they’re driving. Essentially, this new law will mean holding a mobile phone while driving will be illegal.
If you currently use your phone as your sat nav you may still be allowed to do so, as long as your phone is fitted into a holder and you aren’t tempted to touch it, you should be fine. Although, there are already existing laws in place that cover sat nav driving that you will need to take into consideration.
The Department for Transport hopes the new law will be in place by next spring. The chairperson of the transport select committee, Lilian Greenwood, said: “The Government’s decision to accept our recommendation to tighten up the law around the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving is great news. The difference between interactive communications and stand-alone functions on our phones is a loophole that has prevented police from prosecuting drivers who continue to use their phones behind the wheel and put themselves and other road users at risk.”
According to the National Safety Council, there are 1,600,000 accidents per year caused by mobile phone use while driving, with texting while driving making you 23x more likely to crash. A survey by the RAC last month revealed that millions of drivers are continuing to use mobiles. The research found that 35% of drivers under the age of 25 – and 17% of drivers overall – admitted taking their eyes off the road to check texts, email or social media.
If a driver looks at their phone for just two seconds while travelling at 30mph, they will travel 100ft blind, drastically increasing the chance of an accident.