The British government has confirmed it will close a legal loophole which has allowed drivers to escape prosecution for hand-held mobile phone use while behind the wheel.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that he will urgently take forward a review to tighten up the existing law preventing hand-held mobile use while driving.
At present, the law prevents drivers from using a hand-held mobile phone to call or text. However, people caught filming or taking photos while driving have escaped punishment as lawyers have successfully argued this activity does not fit into the ‘interactive communication’ currently outlawed by the legislation.
The revised legislation will mean any driver caught texting, taking photos, browsing the internet or scrolling through a playlist while behind the wheel will be prosecuted for using a hand-held mobile phone while driving.
It is already a criminal offence to use a phone while driving without a hands-free device. This latest move will see the government go further to ensure the law reflects the use of devices that allow other distracting activities.
The impact of this behaviour is proven – if a driver looks at their phone for just 2 seconds when travelling at 30 miles per hour, whether to reply to a message or send a quick snap, they will travel 100 feet blind, drastically increasing the chance of an accident.
The review will be urgently taken forward with further proposals expected to be in place by next spring, making the offence clearer for drivers and police forces.
While ministers have also announced that they will consider the current penalties in place for hand-held mobile phone use, there are no plans to ban hands-free phone use.