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  1. Published on: 01/11/2019 08:35 AMReported by: roving-eye
    Law to be tightened to close loophole that allows people to escape prosecution for hand-held phone use behind the wheel.

    • plans revealed to bring the hand-held mobile phone offence into the 21st century
    • updated law will prevent hand-held phone use in any capacity while driving going further to boost road safety and reduce accident rates
    • follows government work to improve road safety, including the launch of the Road Safety Action Plan and THINK! campaigns

    The 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 today (1 November 2019) 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.

    The government also targets distracted drivers by challenging the attitudes, behaviours and social factors that lead to accidents in its award-winning THINK! campaigns.
    These are the latest steps taken by the government to improve road safety following the launch of the Road Safety Action Plan earlier this year, which set out over 70 measures to reduce the number of people killed and injured on roads around the country.

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    Your Comments:

  3. donkey22 says:01/11/2019 12:04 PM
    It’s good that this loophole has been closed but there are still far too many motorists on our roads who still think it’s acceptable to make calls or text while they’re driving or waiting in standing traffic. Should be a mandatory minimum 6 month ban for this offence.

  4. SteveandLois says:01/11/2019 01:39 PM
    I use a screen mounted mobile phone,which is used as a PDA for working as a Private Hire driver,as we have the Cordic App installed on our mobile phones, and sometimes we have to touch the screen when accepting a job,or when clearing a message sent by the operator,as it is also the meter for customers to be able to see the fare when travelling in my vehicle,and the message will NOT disappear unless the screen is touched by the driver,so IF I have to clear a message,and is spotted by a camera,would this still apply to me ? As ANY Private Hire driver or a Hackney on a similar system,they could be prosecuted for clearing a message,or when accepting a job.Surely there must be leeway if proved that we ARE using the mobile phone,and ONLY for the purpose of getting jobs etc

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