It might surprise you to know that using a mobile whilst driving is not always illegal. It is already a criminal offence to use a hand-held phone to call or text whilst driving but not for other actions like taking a photograph or choosing a song.

This legal loophole has allowed a number of drivers to escape punishment as the actions aren’t seen as interactive communication, so do not fit into the current definition of the offence.

Although technically not illegal drivers who use their phone for these activities are still distracted from the road and any potential hazards, which increases the likelihood of an accident.

To help improve road safety the Department for Transport (DfT) have launched a consultation on mobile phone usage to bring the law into line with modern technology.

The plans, unveiled by Roads Minister Baroness Vere, would ban the use of hand-held mobile phones in all circumstances whilst driving, closing the legal loophole. This would mean that drivers caught on their phone taking photos, selecting a playlist or playing a game will be breaking the law and subject to the same punishments that currently apply if you are texting or on a hand-held phone call whilst driving.

An exemption for contactless payments if a vehicle is stationary and goods or service are delivered immediately so that drivers can still use their phone to pay for takeaway food at drive-thrus.

The consultation is open until January 2021 and you can have your say here. 

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