Government consultation launched to close mobile phone loopholes

19 Oct 2020 12:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Have your say on making activities like taking photos and playing games on hand-held mobile phones illegal while driving.

The government has launched a new public consultation to close a loophole in the current legislation on mobile phone use which driving which currently means those taking photos and playing games on hand-held mobile while driving often escape punishment, as such actions aren’t seen as ‘interactive communication’, and therefore don't fit within the current definition of the offence.

Having reviewed the offence, the new consultation will aim to bring the law into line with modern technology.


Roads Minister Baroness Vere said:

"Our roads are some of the safest in the world, but we want to make sure they’re safer still by bringing the law into the 21st century. That’s why we’re looking to strengthen the law to make using a hand-held phone while driving illegal in a wider range of circumstances – it’s distracting and dangerous and for too long risky drivers have been able to escape punishment but this update will mean those doing the wrong thing will face the full force of the law."

National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Roads Policing, Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, said:

"Using a mobile phone while driving is incredibly dangerous and being distracted at the wheel can change lives forever. Police will take robust action against those using a hand-held mobile phone illegally and proposals to make the law clearer are welcome."

The consultation proposes

  • broadening the offence of using a hand-held mobile phone while driving so that it captures standalone mode functions as well as the existing interactive communication functions.
  • to introduce a new exemption to the using a hand-held mobile phone while driving offence to allow drivers to make contactless payments using a mobile phone at appropriate locations, for example at drive through food outlets.

These changes, if implemented, will need to be reflected in The Highway Code, and the consultation document includes the suggested revised wording.


Useful Links

Read the full government announcement

Download the Consultation document

Respond online

Download and complete a response form


The law and penalties for using mobile phones while driving

More on driving and mobile phones



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