DRIVERS could soon face a £200 fine and six points on their license for holding their mobile phone in the car.
The new change will bring an end to a loophole which until now has allowed drivers to take photos and play games behind the wheel.
Making calls and sending texts on a hand-held mobile while driving is already illegal.
But taking photos, scrolling through a playlist or even playing games on phones has not been outlawed until now – allowing some drivers to escape charges for being on their phone.
The change in law has gained widespread support and is expected to come into effect early this year – although it depends on the outcome of a 12-week consultation.
Sally Lines CEO of the Road Safety Trust said: “Any device that provides a distraction to a driver should only be used when it is safe to do so and we support the change in legislation.
"As in-car technology advances and autonomous features are leading us towards driverless cars it is important that new laws are in this context and the feasibility of enforcement.
"We believe it is important for drivers to only use mobile phones when it is safe and legal to do so and practice safe driving.”
New driving rules for 2021
SEVEN new driving laws are set to come into force in 2021. They include the following:
Mobile phone ban – Anyone found holding their phone behind the wheel slapped with a £200 fine and six points on their driver’s licence.
Pavement parking ban – The whole of the UK could soon follow London in making parking on pavements illegal, with rule-breakers facing £70 fines.
MOT extensions ends – Due to lockdown restrictions, the government announced a six-month extension for MOTs which expired between March 31 and July 31 last year.
This extension ended on January 31 and drivers now travelling without a valid MOT certificate could be fined up to £1,000.
Brexit changes to driving in Europe – A last-minute UK-EU agreement gives most drivers permission to drive without International Driving Permits – but Brits will still need to provide some documents.
The biggest change is the need to carry a physical copy of a green card from your car insurance provider at all times.
New clean air zones – Motorists in several outer London boroughs, Bath and Birmingham face an extra daily charge of between £8 and £100 under latest clean air rules.
Green number plates – Drivers of all-electric and zero emission cars can buy green number plates which could enjoy cheaper parking and special zero emission zones.
Mandatory speed assistant tools – Technology which alerts drivers when they are going too fast and can intervene if people continue to drive above the limit will be fitted in all new cars from 2022.
'Driverless' cars – Cars could come with new technology that helps them drive automatically – by detecting lane markings – from spring this year.
Before the consultation began last year, Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: "Our roads are some of the safest in the world, but we want to make sure they’re safer still by bringing the law into the 21st century.
"It’s distracting and dangerous and for too long risky drivers have been able to escape punishment but this update will mean those doing the wrong thing will face the full force of the law."
Anyone found guilty of the offence would be slapped with a £200 fine and six points on their driving licence.
Mobiles will still be able to be used to pay for a drive-through takeaway.
And drivers will still be able to use phones as Satnavs, if not physically holding them, the Department for Transport said.
But National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Roads Policing Chief Constable Anthony Bangham said officers will take "robust action" against anyone flouting the ban.
He said: "Using a mobile phone while driving is incredibly dangerous and being distracted at the wheel can change lives forever.
"Police will take robust action against those using a hand-held mobile phone illegally and proposals to make the law clearer are welcome."
It is illegal to hold a phone or Satnav while driving or riding a motorbike. You must have hands-free access, such as:
- A bluetooth headset
- Voice command
- A dashboard holder or mat
- A windscreen mount
- A built-in sat nav
The device must not block your view of the road and traffic ahead.
Source: Read Full Article