Government Closes Legal Loophole on Mobile Use

The Government plans to close a legal loophole that allows drivers to escape prosecution for hand-held mobile phone use behind the wheel. Up to now, drivers were not permitted to use a hand-held mobile phone to call or text, but some had evaded prosecution for filming or taking photos.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said an urgent review will be carried out to tighten up the existing laws on hand-held mobile use by motorists.

Earlier this year Ramsey Barreto successfully appealed against a conviction for filming the scene of a crash while driving, when his lawyers argued the rules only relate to using a phone for ‘interactive communication’.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said it will revise the legislation so that any driver caught using a hand-held phone behind the wheel can be prosecuted whether they are texting, taking photos, browsing the internet or scrolling through a music playlist. It expects the proposals to be in place by spring 2020.

The action follows a recent report by the Commons’ Transport Select Committee which urged the Government to introduce tougher restrictions on using a mobile phone while driving.

Nick Lloyd, Head of Road Safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said: “Drivers who use their phones are up to 4 times more likely to crash. RoSPA highlighted this loophole in the summer and is delighted that such prompt action is being taken to ensure that all hand-held mobile phone use is to be prohibited, making our roads safer for all.”

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