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New rules on the use of mobile phones while driving, labelled a “missed opportunity

23 Dec 2021

The Government has announced it will be illegal to use a hand-held device under virtually any circumstance while driving, but hands-free calls will still be permitted and the potential risks around distracted driving from infotainment systems remains unresolved.

It was already illegal to text or make a phone call (other than in an emergency) using a hand-held device while driving.

The new rules, which will come into force next year, will specifically ban drivers from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “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.”

Anyone caught using their handheld device while driving will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence.

The Government says drivers will still be able to continue using a device ‘hands-free’ while driving, such as a sat-nav, if it’s secured in a cradle.

However, if police deem that they are not to be in proper control of their vehicle, they can be charged with careless driving.

Fleet managers should educate drivers and companies should allow drivers to feel comfortable to not take calls while driving.

Simon Turner, campaign manager for Driving for Better Business, believes the change in the law will force many businesses to look again at their policies for mobile phone use while driving.

Distracted driving extends beyond mobile phone use, including playing loud music, eating or drinking, having a conversation with a passenger, reaching into the glove box or lighting up a cigarette could all divert a driver’s attention away from the road.  People cannot always safely multi-task while driving, especially if the second activity is time-consuming or complex.

Any secondary activity puts extra demands on the driver, which may reduce their driving standard.

For example, it may cause the driver to become less observant or to make poor decisions about how to control the vehicle safely.

Source Fleet News:  https://www.fleetnews.co.uk