New cellphone law cracking down on drivers using devices is coming this month
Drivers have been urged to prepare for changes to driving laws involving the use of mobile phones which will come into effect later this month.
The UK government will tighten the law on using a device while driving from March 25.
Current rules mean that it is an offense to use a mobile phone or handheld device to make a phone call, send a text message or access the internet while driving.
This scope will be further expanded to reflect developments in mobile technology since the introduction of the current law in 2003.
From March 25, it will be an offense to use your phone for more than one purpose while driving a car.
This will include:
- illuminate the screen
- check the time
- verification of notifications
- device unlock
- make calls
- sending oral or written content
- take photos
- send texts
- access stored data
- use apps
- access the internet
Drivers who commit an offense under this law will be fined a minimum of £200 and given six penalty points.
The changes to the law come amid the release of grim statistics regarding the number of accidents involving someone using their mobile phone.
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Department for Transport figures reveal that in 2020 alone, 17 people were killed, 114 people were seriously injured and 385 were slightly injured in crashes where the driver was using a mobile phone.
Drivers will still be allowed to make contactless payments at a payment terminal for goods or services as the only exception to the law.
The vehicle must be stationary and the paid item must be provided at the same time or shortly after the contactless payment.
For example, paying for a parking space or having a coffee while driving.
The use of a mobile phone as a sat nav will still be permitted, as long as it is kept in a holder and not in the driver’s hand.
The RAC has “strongly welcomed” this decision, but stresses that it must be “vigorously applied”.
Simon William, RAC road safety spokesperson, said: “We strongly welcome the government’s strengthening of the law on the use of mobile phones while driving.
“As our phones have become more sophisticated, the law has not kept pace and this has allowed some drivers who used their cell phones for purposes other than communication to exploit a loophole and avoid the maximum penalty.
“Our research suggests that more than 1 in 10 young drivers admit to taking a photo or video while driving, while 6% say they have played a game.
“While today’s announcement is clearly welcome news, it is absolutely vital that the new law is enforced vigorously, otherwise there is a risk that it will not deliver the kind of behavioral change that will make our roads safer.”
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