Tougher penalties for using your mobile phone while driving announced | What Car?

The highway code will be brought up-to-date and adjusted to explain the new measures, and it will also be made clear that hand-held mobile phone use at traffic lights or in traffic jams is illegal. 

The move comes after a 12-week public consultation earlier this year found that 81% of drivers supported a change to the law.

The Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, said: “Too many deaths and injuries occur while mobile phones are being held”.

“By making it easier to prosecute people illegally using their phone at the wheel, we are ensuring the law is brought into the 21st century while further protecting all road users”.

BMW 3 Series interior with mobile phone

Mary Williams OBE, Chief Executive of the road safety charity Brake, said: “Driver distraction can be deadly and using a hand-held phone at the wheel is never worth the risk. This important road safety decision by the Government, coinciding with road safety week, is very welcome.”

Simon Williams, spokesman for road safety at the RAC, commented that: “We strongly welcome the Government’s strengthening of the law on handheld mobile phone use behind the wheel. As our phones have become more sophisticated, the law has not kept pace and this has allowed some drivers who have been using their handheld phones for purposes other than communicating to exploit a loophole and avoid the maximum penalty.”

Research conducted by the RAC also found that one-in-10 younger drivers have admitted to taking a photo or video while driving, and 6% said they’ve played a game. 

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