The Government has announced plans to significantly tighten up the ban on using mobiles phones whilst driving. The changes will come into effect in 2021.
In short, the current law:
· is out of date – mobile phones today are no longer just used for calls and texts
· is hard for police to enforce at the roadside
· currently allows mobile phone use that is technically lawful, but actually unsafe
When it comes to going on a mobile whilst driving there are a few things that are currently seen as lawful. These are what the government are wanting to change as it is still very dangerous to all road users. The Government proposes changing the law ‘so that drivers are guilty of an offence if they use their hand-held mobile phone or similar device for any purpose while driving’.
The following activities (and possibly more) would become prohibited:
– illuminating the screen
– unlocking the device
– checking the time or notifications
– rejecting a call
– composing texts or e-mails to save in drafts
– taking photos or videos or using the phone’s camera as a mirror
– searching for music stored on the phone
– searching for photos or other images stored in the phone
– dictating voice messages into the phone
– read a book or playing a game downloaded on the phone
Drivers who unlawfully use a hand-held mobile phone while driving are most likely to receive a fixed penalty notice offer (FPN) of £200 and six penalty points on their driving licence. If the case goes to the Magistrates’ court – because the police decide to prosecute or the driver declines the FPN to contest the case in court – the maximum possible fine is £1,000 (or £2,500 for vocational bus and lorry drivers when driving larger vehicles). A driving ban can also be imposed.