Consultation aims to tighten mobile phone driving laws

Published 19 October 2020

Communicating on a handheld phone while driving is illegal in the UK currently, however, the Government is looking to strengthen the law to ensure drivers can't escape convictions for taking photos/videos, scrolling through playlists or playing games on phones while driving.

The Government has moved to tighten the law around using handheld mobile phones while driving. The change, due to come into law after a 12-week public consultation, would allow police to take immediate action if they saw a driver holding and using a phone at the wheel.

As it stands, drivers can be given an on-the-spot fine of £200 and six penalty points if they're caught using a handheld phone while driving. However, some drivers have reportedly overturned convictions after lawyers successfully argued that the law only bans the use of mobile phones to speak or communicate while behind the wheel.

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The law - written in 2003 - states that an offence is committed if a driver uses a handheld phone for 'interactive telecommunication' while behind the wheel. As smartphones were not in existence then, the law no longer reflects the reality of mobile phone use while driving.

Drivers may use a phone's function while driving as long as they have 'hands-free access'. This includes a bluetooth headset, voice command and a dashboard or windscreen mount. The device must not block your view of the road and traffic ahead, though.

You can get three penalty points if you don’t have a full view of the road and traffic ahead or proper control of the vehicle. You can also be convicted for driving without due care and attention, or dangerous driving, if you're using a phone while driving.

Drivers will still be able to use phones as devices to pay for goods or services at drive-through businesses such as takeaways.

The Government expects the new proposals to be in place by early 2021.

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shoaibsuleman    on 19 October 2020

You can still use mobile phones without touching/handling the phone i.e. use Siri or Google Assistant. Siri has improved considerably and really handle well the voice commands including sending text messages. Law says you will be punished if you will handle it, but not using voice commands.

Though I am NOT proposing that should use mobile while you drive, but I am suggesting use technology to handle stuff.

v6man    on 19 October 2020

hi all if you use a phone to pay for your food in a drive through here you will get a fine , i agree with shoaibsuleman that the tec has inproved a great deal over the last couple of years ..

Micky Myers    on 20 October 2020

hi all if you use a phone to pay for your food in a drive through here you will get a fine ,


Micky Myers    on 20 October 2020

Phone use while driving has reached ridiculous levels. At the moment usage is blatant, you only have to stand at the side of the road and watch. There are those who just use their phones as normal. Others who are either texting or watching videos with their eyes down, phone between their legs. Others who have the phone mounted whilst video calling or using sat nav. Not all illegal, but certainly distracting. Whenever I see a driver in the car behind with 'eyes down' I toot the horn. It certainly gets their attention but often involves a lot of tooting before the message gets through. (They don't realise it's the car in front making all the noise usually!) Plod could make a fortune in fines if they bothered to watch and take registrations! No fancy technology needed, just good old fashioned policing! I'm pretty sure it will come when the new system is in place.

Edited by Micky Myers on 20/10/2020 at 09:58

A.Ward    on 20 October 2020

Why just pick on mobile phones for distracting the driver,RADIOS should be made illegal to use while driving.It is impossible for a driver to concentrate on driving while listening to music etc.

JudeS    on 20 October 2020

Continuing on the same theme, it will soon be illegal to carry passengers in a vehicle as they are even more distracting than listening to the radio!

   on 20 October 2020

Following a car in front which gradually aims for the verge then gets pulled sharply back is usually another indication of phone use by the driver. Particularly annoying is being overtaken by Mr Impatient, who once in front, slows down to take or make that vital call.

View in the rear mirror of following driver with head down and missing change of traffic lights from stop to go is another giveaway...amongst many more.

It's always as if the phone gibbering drivers don't think they can be easily spotted...


Brian rowe    on 26 October 2020

To use a radio or C D track changing in some cars,without steering wheel accessories, is also dangerous , just a second of lapse of concentration and you could be in big trouble.

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