Law changes regarding mobile phone use to come into effect in March

By 7th February 2022February 8th, 2022No Comments

Drivers will face tougher rules from March when it comes to the use of mobile phones and other devices behind the wheel.

Business drivers need to be particularly aware of the rule changes; managers should ensure that their drivers don’t feel pressured to use handheld devices while driving.

Under current laws, drivers are banned from texting or making a phone call – other than in an emergency – while using a handheld device.

From 25 March, drivers in England, Scotland and Wales will not be allowed to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or access apps on their phones when driving.

Anyone caught using their handheld device while driving will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence.

Drivers can still use devices such as satnav, and navigation apps on their smartphone, provided the device is secured in a cradle.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “The AA has long campaigned to toughen up these rules, and we welcome this announcement.

“This is a much-needed upgrade of the law to help make our roads safer.

“Mobile phones offer many distractions and this sends a clear message that picking them up to use them will not be tolerated.

“The law will also become tougher as the use of smartwatches, tablets and laptops behind the wheel will apply.

“Drivers will be extremely limited on when they can pick up their phone, mainly to call the emergency services when there was no opportunity to safely pull over and to make contactless payments at drive-thrus.

“Being sat in a traffic jam or waiting at the lights is not an excuse, we want people to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.”

The legislation was laid before Parliament on Tuesday with the March 25 date confirmed.

When the Government unveiled the new rules in November, analysis showed that 17 people were killed on Britain’s roads the previous year in crashes involving drivers distracted by mobile phones. Department for Transport figures showed a further 114 people were seriously injured and 385 were slightly injured in such collisions.

More than one in six of those killed or seriously injured were either a pedestrian or a cyclist, highlighting the threat posed to vulnerable road users from drivers preoccupied by phones.

Driving for work often puts drivers in a position where they might be tempted to use a handheld mobile phone while at the wheel. Do you have a policy in place to account for this? Pressure to communicate and a lack of training or the right equipment could result in your drivers endangering the safety of themselves and other road users, as well as the legal safety of your organisation.

IAM RoadSmart can help. To find out how, get in touch.

Charlie Reynolds

Author Charlie Reynolds

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