The UK government has confirmed it will close a legal loophole which has allowed drivers to escape prosecution for hand-held mobile phone use while behind the wheel.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says he will urgently take forward a review to tighten up the existing law preventing hand-held mobile use while driving.
Currently, drivers are prevented by law from using a hand-held mobile phone to call or text. However, people caught filming or taking photos while driving have escaped punishment as lawyers have successfully argued this activity does not fit into the “interactive communication” currently outlawed by the legislation.
Revised legislation will mean any driver caught texting, taking photos, browsing the internet or scrolling through a playlist while behind the wheel will be prosecuted for using a hand-held mobile phone while driving.
“We recognise that staying in touch with the world while travelling is an essential part of modern day life but we are also committed to making our roads safe,” said Shapps. “Drivers who use a hand-held mobile phone are hindering their ability to spot hazards and react in time – putting people’s lives at risk.”
The review will be urgently taken forward with further proposals expected to be in place by next spring, making the offence clearer for drivers and police forces.
“Drivers who use their phones are up to four times more likely to crash,” said Nick Lloyd, Head of Road Safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). “RoSPA highlighted this loophole in the summer and is delighted that such prompt action is being taken to ensure that all hand-held mobile phone use is to be prohibited, making our roads safer for all.”