Saturday, November 27, 2021

HANG UP drivers can face fines of up to £ 200 for using the phone in traffic or scrolling through music playlists

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Drivers are being warned to adjust to stricter rules for using mobile phones when driving from next year.

Texting or calling while driving is already illegal with a £ 200 fine, but the government is introducing new rules to close gray areas in music streaming and photography.

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

But there has always been a “legal loophole” when scrolling through music playlists with a phone or trying to take photos or videos on the phone while driving, as this is not expressly prohibited in the road traffic regulations.

Here’s what you need to know.

According to traffic safety activists Think!

Calling and texting while driving has been banned for almost two decades.

There are only exceptions in emergencies.

It is still legal to use a mobile phone with a speakerphone.

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

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

A 2019 High Court ruling ruled that a driving offense can only be committed if it can be demonstrated that not only was a driver holding and using the phone, but that the phone was being used, to perform an “interactive communication function”.

It also includes making a call or sending a text message rather than having a standalone function like recording a video.

In response, the Ministry of Transport launched a consultation last year to strengthen regulations so that the use of handheld phones while driving is considered “reckless and dangerous”.

The government has now announced that starting next year, laws will go ahead to prohibit drivers from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists, or play games.

A new wording is added to the road traffic regulations to make it clear that making calls at traffic lights or in traffic jams is illegal.

The aim of the changes is to increase road safety and make it easier for the police to prosecute drivers with their mobile phones at the wheel

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

Violators can face either a £ 200 fine or a fine of up to £ 2,500 in the local court.

You will also receive six penalty points on your driver’s license.

The comparison website Confused.com has also warned that there can be insurance repercussions if you are caught driving your car with your phone.

It says: “If you are a new driver who has passed your test within the last two years, you will automatically lose your driver’s license.

“Later, when it comes to renewing your car insurance, you can increase your premiums significantly.

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

Email us at money@the-sun.co.uk

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