The UK government says it plans to change the law around using hand-held mobile phones when driving.
In December 2003, the existing 'careless driving' laws were augmented to forbid drivers from sending text messages or making phone calls using a hand-held mobile device while driving (other than in an emergency). The Department for Transport
says this will be further extended next year to ban drivers from using hand-held phones under any circumstance, including taking photos, scrolling through playlists or playing games. It will also clarify that hand-held phone use is illegal if temporarily stopped at traffic lights or in a traffic jam.
Anyone using a hand-held mobile device when driving will risk a £200 fixed penalty notice and 6 points on their licence.
Hands-free use - for example, when the phone is held securely in a cradle - will still be permitted. There'll also be exemptions for contactless mobile payments under certain circumstances, such as paying for a toll road when stationary.
Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, the Secretary of State for Transport, said "Too many deaths and injuries occur while mobile phones are being held. By making it easier to prosecute people illegally using their phone at the wheel, we are ensuring the law is brought into the 21st century while further protecting all road users. While our roads remain among the safest in the world, we will continue working tirelessly to make them safer, including through our award-winning THINK! campaign, which challenges social norms among high-risk drivers."