Driving Whilst Using a Phone

Reports in the national press over the weekend have highlighted changes to the law when driving whilst using a mobile phone, which are set to be implemented early next year.

It will now become illegal to pick up a mobile phone whilst driving, thereby closing a somewhat bizarre loophole, which currently allows drivers to escape punishment for taking photos or playing games for example.

The Department for Transport has confirmed that following the changes, mobile phones can still be used as hands-free devices to make phone calls, as satnavs if in a cradle device, and also to pay contactless at drive-through takeaways.

The proposed changes have been introduced to close current ambiguities, which have allowed drivers to successfully argue, for example, that filming or taking photos are not ‘performing an interactive communication’ whilst driving.

Comedian Jimmy Carr utilised such a loophole a few years ago, claiming that he was dictating a joke into his phone whilst driving and thus escaping a conviction.

More recently Ramsey Barreto was found guilty of using his phone to film a car crash but successfully appealed, leading to High Court Judges criticising the current legislation as failing to have evolved with the advances in smartphones.

Anyone convicted of such an offence would be looking at a fine and six penalty points on their driving licence.

For any advice or guidance on this or any other motoring law matter, please contact me or one of the team.