Drivers Banned From Using Hand-Held Devices in Car in the U.K.
2022 promises to be a lot more strict against drivers using their mobile phones while driving in the United Kingdom. Deaths and injuries caused by distracted drivers have prompted the government to crack down on drivers caught using their phones and other mobile devices while driving.
The updated Highway Code forbids drivers to use their mobile phone or other hand-held devices for any reason outside of an emergency, under penalty of a 200 fine and 6 points added to the driver’s license. The new code will be put into effect in 2022.
To understand a bit more about the new code and the consequences of breaking it, please continue reading below.
The New Highway Code
Currently, it is already illegal to drive while holding your phone. Drivers are required to have hands-free devices synced to their cars such as Bluetooth headsets or built-in satellite navigation apps.
Recently, however, the parliament has decided to crack down on any use of your mobile phone while driving, now including taking photos or scrolling through your music.
Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, states the reason for the increased enforcement of these laws is because “too many deaths and injuries occur whilst mobile phones are being held.” Back in 2017, a statistical releaseby the Department of Transport stated distracted driving through mobile devices caused 33 car fatalities and 398 injuries.
Consequences for Breaking the New Highway Code
The latest driving laws will close the previously used loopholes that allowed drivers to use their phones in the car in order to take pictures and recordings, especially during stoplights or traffic jams.
Now officers may charge drivers using their mobile phones with dangerous driving if they find the driver is not fully in control of their vehicle and aware of their surroundings. If caught, a driver will be fined £200 and have 6 points added onto their driver’s license.
These consequences are not new as, since 2017, the Highway Code penalized drivers with the same fine, in addition to the possibility of having their case go to court where drivers could potentially lose their licenses.
The Exception to the Updated Code
Obviously, one of the primary benefits of a mobile phone is being able to make emergency calls when accidents occur. The government does know this, which means individuals who use their phone while driving to report an emergency such as drunk drivers or a crash, are not going to be prosecuted.
Because of the effect on Covid-19 restrictions, it will take a year or two to see if this updated code has a positive effect on the rate of car accidents in the UK. 2019 did see a reduction in car-related accidents to 1,748 total fatalities and 2020 had even fewer deaths at 1,472. However, the largest factor contributing to those numbers is the fact that everyone had to stay at home. So only time will tell if the new code’s effective.
- Any use of hand-held mobile phone while driving to become illegal - GOV.UK (gov.uk)
- Laws strengthened on mobile use while driving - CBVC (cbvcvehiclemanagement.co.uk)
- Drivers to be banned from scrolling through playlists while holding phones | Evening Standard
- Drivers to be banned from using hand-held devices - BBC News
- Texting and Driving Statistics: How Mobile Phone Distraction Causes Accidents - TigerMobiles.com
- Mobile phone loophole for filming drivers 'to be closed' - BBC News
- Provisional 2020 casualty data reveals 16% drop in UK road deaths | Road Safety Support
- Change to the penalty for using a hand-held mobile phone while driving - THE HIGHWAY CODE (highwaycodeuk.co.uk)