Law against hand-held phone use while driving to be extended
19 November 2021
Author: Sean Keywood
The UK Government is to tighten laws around using hand-held mobile phones at the wheel.
From next year, drivers will be specifically banned from using their phones for actions such as taking photos or videos, scrolling through playlists or playing games, including when stopped in traffic jams or at traffic lights.
Those in breach will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their driving licence.
This is in addition to existing legislation preventing texting or making phone calls using a hand-held device in non-emergency situations.
Drivers will still be able to use a phone-based sat-nav system while driving, but the device must be mounted in a cradle. There will also be an exemption for using a phone for contactless payments, for example at a drive-through restaurant or toll booth.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "Too many deaths and injuries occur while mobile phones are being held.
"By making it easier to prosecute people illegally using their phone at the wheel, we are ensuring the law is brought into the 21st century while further protecting all road users."
Reacting to the announcement, RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: "We strongly welcome the government's strengthening of the law on handheld mobile phone use behind the wheel.
"As our phones have become more sophisticated, the law has not kept pace and this has allowed some drivers who have been using their handheld phones for purposes other than communicating to exploit a loophole and avoid the maximum penalty.
"While today's announcement is clearly good news, it's absolutely vital that the new law is vigorously enforced otherwise there's a risk that it won't deliver the sort of behaviour change that will make our roads safer."