As we are introduced to the new year of 2022, the laws around using mobile phones whilst driving have been reassessed and tightened by the Government.
In the past, drivers have found loopholes in the law and continued to use mobile devices to take photographs or change their music selection, both of which have now been banned. Road safety experts had labelled the previous regulations as a “missed opportunity”, calling for a reassessment which passed, and begun with 2022.
The new, more restrictive laws state that it will remain illegal to text or make any call on a handheld device whilst driving, other than in a situation where the emergency services are required. It has also now been extended to place a ban on drivers using such devices to take photos or videos, adjust their music selection or play games, even when at a red light or in standstill traffic. Anyone caught carrying out such actions will receive an immediate £200 fixed penalty and 6 points on their drivers licence. The Highway Code is soon to be amended to feature the newest regulations.
When these laws come into play, there will be a few exemptions to the rules. These include:
- Using your handheld device to a call to emergency services or making a call for help in in extreme circumstances.
- Using your handheld device for a contactless payment at a toll point or drive-through service whilst stationary and with the handbrake on.
Many newer vehicles are accompanied with a hands-free option, allowing you to instruct the car to send a message or make a call to a specific person, without needing to take your eyes off of the road. It will remain legal to use this feature, so long as you remain in control of your vehicle. You will be liable for an offence if police consider you to not be in full control or to appear distracted.
Sat-navs secured correctly and placed in the appropriate positioning will also be allowed, so long as they are set up before you set off on your journey and remain untouched whilst on the road. Once again, if police consider you to be distracted, they hold the right to charge you.
In regard to the tightened laws, Mary Williams OBE, Chief Executive of road safety charity Brake said “Driver distraction can be deadly, and using a handheld phone at the wheel is never worth the risk.” She went on to say “This news is particularly welcomed by families suffering bereavement and catastrophic injury due to drivers being distracted by phones. We can all be road safety heroes by giving driving our full attention.”
We all have the capability to drive safely, and the tightened laws will further improve that, allowing our roads to remain among the safest worldwide. For more advice on The Highway Code or road safety whilst driving, our team at Ace Rent A Van will be happy to advise. Give us a call on 020 7277 9853 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.