Tougher new laws to crack down on motorists using their mobile phone while driving coming in early 2022
The government has announced new laws that will supplement existing laws in place for using your mobile phone while driving. Current laws make it illegal to use your mobile phone when driving for making calls or sending text messages, other than in an emergency. A shocking number of people are prosecuted each year for using their phone behind the wheel; research conducted by Direct Line in 2019 looked at the figures published by the Ministry of Justice - they found that more than three drivers every TWO HOURS are convicted of using a mobile phone while driving. Totally an average 13,000 convictions a year, £2 million worth of fines are accumulated.
Deadly consequences of using a mobile phone while driving
Using a mobile phone while driving can have deadly consequences, as drivers are distracted from the road, reducing reaction times and visual awareness. In fact, some statistics show that using your phone behind the wheel is more dangerous than drink driving, with you being six times more likely to crash if you are texting behind the wheel than drink driving. Furthermore, your reactions are 30% slower when texting/using your phone than they would be if you were driving at the drink drive limit.
Every year, there are many fatalities directly linked to the mobile phone use when driving and hundreds more serious accidents. Between 2014 and 2019, there was an average of one major incident every three days, with 133 fatalities and 446 serious accidents due to mobile phone use while driving.
The new mobile phone laws
Today, 19 November 2021, the Department for Transport and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP, published the new laws to come into play in early 2022.
Despite seeming like common sense to many, the new changes will ban drivers:
- Using their phone to take photos or videos
- Scroll through music playlists
- Browse the internet
- Play games
- All of the above will be illegal regardless of whether the driver is at a red light or stuck in traffic
According to the government, drivers will still be able to use 'hands-free' functions while driving, such as a sat nav. However, the phone must be in a secured cradle, such as those stuck to the windscreen.
Quoting Transport Secretary Grant Shapps:
"Too many deaths and injuries occur while mobile phones are being held.
By making it easier to prosecute people illegally using their phone at the wheel, we are ensuring the law is brought into the 21st century while further protecting all road users."
The government have announced these new laws following public consultation. 81% of those that responded to the public consultation supported the proposals to strengthen the current laws in place making it illegal to use a mobile phone while driving.
As per current laws, if you are caught using your mobile phone while driving you could face a fine of £200 and 6 points on your licence!
Save lives and avoiding prosecution
The answer to avoiding this is simple: do NOT use your mobile phone while driving. If you need to make a call, text or send an email that can't wait then find a safe place to pull over and use your phone with your engine switched off.
Many new cars are jam packed with hands-free tech, such as Apple Car Play or Android Auto connect your phone to your cars media.
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