New laws on cell phone use while driving come into effect Car News

Stricter laws governing the use of mobile phones while driving have come into force, making it illegal to use a mobile device while driving in almost all circumstances.

From March 25, 2022, drivers will be deemed to be breaking the law if they use a mobile phone for “any purpose”, including taking photos, recording videos, scrolling through music playlists and playing games.

Drivers caught using a portable device while driving could face a fine of up to £1,000, six penalty points on their license or a complete driving ban.

People driving will still be able to make contactless payments at places such as drive-throughs as long as their vehicle is stationary.

Hands-free devices are also still legal, so drivers can still use sat nav on their phones assuming they’re secured in a crib.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said tough changes were being introduced to tighten safety, closing a loophole where drivers could claim they weren’t using their phones for ‘interactive communication’ – a rule that has been written before the widespread adoption of smartphones.

“I will do everything in my power to keep road users safe, which is why I take a zero-tolerance approach to those who choose to risk lives by using their phones while driving,” said Shaps. “I ensure that anyone who chooses to break this vital law can be punished for it, and we will continue our efforts to keep our roads among the safest in the world.”

The new laws were proposed to parliament in November 2021, following a public consultation in which 81% of respondents backed tougher measures.

According to Think!, the government road safety agency, drivers are up to four times more likely to be involved in an accident when using a mobile phone. Think! also indicates that a motorist’s reaction times are twice as slow when texting while driving than when driving drunk.

The laws will be communicated to the public in England and Wales through an £800,000 communications campaign via video-on-demand platforms, radio and social media.

The AA welcomed the changes to the law, suggesting stricter regulations on the use of phones while driving were “much needed”.

“The AA has long campaigned to make cell phone use while driving as socially unacceptable as drunk driving, and we warmly welcome the new law. This is a much needed tougher rule to help make our roads safer,” said AA president Edmund King.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-25 00:01:23

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