‘Zero tolerance’ approach to drivers using phone at wheel comes into play

New DVLA rules and driving laws coming in 2022

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Previous loopholes have seen some escape the law whilst claiming to take photos or play games, however, this will also now fall under the legislation. Using a mobile phone to chat, speak, text or make video calls, will now be joined by gaming, taking pictures and scrolling through music. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has described the move as taking a “zero-tolerance approach” to offenders using devices on the roads.

From Friday, March 25, anyone caught in the act can expect fines of up to £1,000 as well as 6 points on their licence.

In 2021, 17 people died on Britain’s road where a mobile phone has played a contributing factor to the accident.

A further 114 people were badly injured, and 385 with minor injuries following incidents in which drivers have been using a mobile device behind the wheel.

More than one in six of those killed or injured are cyclists or pedestrians.

The only exception currently in place in the UK is using a mobile phone to contact emergency services.

Drivers will still be allowed to use their phones to make contactless payments, such as at drive-thru restaurants, as long as their vehicle is stationary.

Motorists can also use their phones as a sat-nav if it is secured in a cradle.

Mr Shapps said: “I will do everything in my power to keep road users safe, which is why I am taking a zero-tolerance approach to those who decide to risk lives by using their phone behind the wheel.

“I’m ensuring anyone who chooses to break this vital law can face punishment for doing so, and we’ll continue our efforts to ensure our roads remain among the safest in the world.”

AA president Edmund King said: “This is a much-needed toughening of the rules to help make our roads safer.

“The best thing to do is to convert your glovebox into a phone box.

“We all need to keep our hands on the wheel and our eyes on the road.”

RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis: “The dial really needs to be turned up when it comes to enforcement, and that means police forces having the resources and technology they need to more easily catch those drivers that continue to flout the law.

“Cameras that can automatically detect handheld phone use exist and are in use in other countries, so we think it’s high time the UK Government evaluated this technology with a view to allowing police forces to deploy.”

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Mary Williams OBE, Chief Executive of Brake – the road safety charity, said: “Driver distraction can be deadly and using a hand-held phone at the wheel is never worth the risk.

“This important road safety decision by the Government, coinciding with Road Safety Week, is very welcomed.

“This news is particularly welcomed by families suffering bereavement and catastrophic injury due to drivers being distracted by phones.

“The theme for Road Safety Week is road safety heroes – we can all be road safety heroes by giving driving our full attention.”

Do you think the Government is right to introduce such measures? Should mobile phones be banned altogether when driving? Should fines and points be even stricter? Let us know what you think of these questions, or add your own remarks by CLICKING HERE and joining the conversation in our comments section below – Every Voice Matters!

According to Government research, younger motorists are more likely to have used a handheld device at the wheel, supporting the focus of the government’s award-winning THINK! campaign, which works to boost road safety by targeting higher-risk, younger motorists and road-users.

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