Drivers face further fines of up to £ 200 for using their phones in traffic or scrolling through music playlists

MOTORISTS are warned to prepare for stricter rules on cell phone use while driving from next year.



Texting or making phone calls while driving is already illegal, with a fine of £ 200, but the government is introducing new rules to close gray areas around streaming music and taking photos.

Drivers are four times more likely to have an accident while driving if they are on the phone,

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Drivers are four times more likely to have an accident while driving if they are on the phone,Credit: Alamy

Driving with a mobile phone was banned in 2003, except when using a hands-free device.



But there has always been a “legal loophole” when using a phone to scroll through music playlists or take photos or videos on your phone while driving, as they are not explicitly prohibited in the Highway Code.

Here’s what you need to know.



What is the current legislation on the use of a mobile phone while driving?

According to traffic safety activists Think!

Talking and texting on a cell phone while driving has been banned for almost two decades.



The only exceptions are in an emergency.

It is still legal to use a mobile phone on a hands-free device.

You can also use GPS on your phone as long as the device is separately secured in your car and you are not holding it.

But smartphones are now used for a wider range of functions than in 2003, so the government wants to update the law.

What is changing?

A 2019 High Court judgment ruled that a driving offense is only committed when it can be proven not only that a driver was holding the phone and using it, but also that the phone was being used to run. an “interactive communication function”.

This includes making a call or sending a text rather than a standalone function such as recording a video.

In response, the transport ministry launched a consultation last year to tighten the current rules so that any use of a mobile phone while driving is considered “reckless and dangerous”.

The government has now said that from next year laws will go further to ban drivers from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games.

A new wording will be added to the highway code to specify that the use of the telephone at traffic lights or in traffic jams is illegal.

How much could you pay for using a phone while driving?

The aim of these changes is to improve road safety and make it easier for the police to prosecute drivers who use mobile phones while driving.

The penalties are the same as the rules first introduced in 2003.

Violators can face either a flat-rate fine of £ 200 or a fine of up to £ 2,500 in the Magistrates’ Court.

You will also get six penalty points added to your license.

Comparison site Confus.com also warned that there could be insurance implications if you are caught driving while on the phone.

He said, “If you are a new driver who has passed your exam within the past two years, you will automatically lose your license.

“Later, when it comes to renewing your auto insurance, you may see a big increase in your premiums.

“If you are involved in an accident while using your phone, you will find that your insurer may not cover you. So even setting aside the risk to your own life and the lives of others, it could prove to be dear to you too.

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