Due to a ‘loophole’ in current driving laws, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that the government will look at tightening the rules surrounding the use of mobile phones whilst driving. The main aim being to ensure that motorists can be prosecuted for everything from taking photos to using the internet whilst behind the wheel.
The issue comes due to the wording of the old law that currently stands. You see, at the moment, the law states that drivers are prohibited from using a hand-held mobile phone for ‘interactive communication’ … something that is often translated as just phone calls and texting. Seen as a loophole in the law, the lawyers of a number of drivers – caught using their phones to take photos or video – have managed to argue that those actions don’t fit the description.
Obviously just as dangerous as texting or talking on the phone, the government are hoping to stamp out these actions by reviewing the wording of the law and subsequently tightening it up.
It’s said that, after the review, it’ll be possible to prosecute drivers found texting, taking photos/video, browsing the internet or even scrolling through a music playlist.
Speaking of the required change, Grant Shapps said:
“We recognise that staying in touch with the world while travelling is an essential part of modern-day life but we are also committed to making our roads safe. Drivers who use a hand-held mobile phone are hindering their ability to spot hazards and react in time – putting people’s lives at risk.”
The call for action originally came due to a new report by the Transport Select Committee that urged the government to look at the law. Alongside advising tighter mobile phone rules the report also asked the government to consider a ban on hands-free devices.
Following the report, the Department for Transport said that a review would take place urgently and that further proposals can be expected to be in place by next spring.
What do you think of this announcement from the government – are you happy that the loophole is being closed or do you think that the loophole shouldn’t have been there in the first place? We’d like to read your opinion on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter.