UK Government to ban taking photos while driving

Joanna Estrada
October 18, 2020

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It has been illegal to make a call, text and email when driving since 2003, but using a phone for things like filming, taking photos and scrolling through a music playlist were all still ok because they weren't "interactive communication".

The DfT has confirmed that a consultation has been launched on proposals to bring the law into line with modern technology.

Ministers rejected calls to ban the use of hands-free function, for example using a sat-nav in a phone cradle, as part of the consultation.

The use of mobile phones while driving causes four types of mutually non-exclusive distractions - visual, auditory, cognitive and manual/physical. The only times a mobile device can be used in the driver's hand is when safely parked up or when calling the emergency services. Effectively, this let people escape punishment by claiming they were browsing the web, taking a selfie or otherwise doing something that didn't involve chatting with others.

Roads minister Baroness Vere said of hand-held phone use behind the wheel: "It's distracting and unsafe, 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". Mobile phone usage has developed into a primary source of driver distraction as it can induce drivers to take their attention off the road, thus making vehicle occupants more vulnerable to road crashes.

"It's distracting and unsafe 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".

The new law means that drivers who touch their phones for any reason when driving could get penalty points or even a fine.

"That's why we want to further strengthen the law to use a hand-held phone while driving illegally in a wide range of situations".

National Police Chiefs' Council spokesperson Chief Constable Anthony Bangham said forces would take "robust action" against anyone breaking the rules.

He said: "Using a mobile phone while driving is incredibly risky and being distracted at the wheel can change lives forever".

"Drivers who use a hand-held mobile phone are hindering their ability to spot hazards and react in time - putting people's lives at risk".

The ruling led two High Court judges to criticise the 16-year-old law on using mobile phones, which they said had failed to evolve with the rise of smartphones.

This shockingly revealed that drives used their phones on 86.5 percent of journeys on average.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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