Unbelievably, it has been illegal to make phone calls or text while driving a car, but not illegal to play games or take photos.
Clearly, this loophole is begging to be closed and new legislation proposed, 17 October 2020, will aim to do just that. A Government announcement says:
People using a hand-held mobile phone in all circumstances while driving will be breaking the law, under new Government plans unveiled by Roads Minister Baroness Vere today (17 October 2020) to close a legislation loophole and improve road safety.
It’s already a criminal offence to use a hand-held mobile phone to call or text while driving, but not for other actions such as taking photos. While still distracting, drivers have escaped punishment due to a legal loophole where such actions aren’t seen as ‘interactive communication’, and therefore do not fit the current definition of the offence.
Now, following a review of the offence, a consultation has been launched on bringing the law into line with modern technology – meaning drivers caught taking photos, playing games or scrolling through a playlist behind the wheel will be clearly breaking the law on mobile phone use.
Recognising that mobile phones are commonly used as a method of payment – such as at drive-throughs – an exemption will apply under the new proposals set out by government today to contactless payments, if a vehicle is stationary, and if goods or services – such as a takeaway meal – are delivered immediately.