By Rachael Grealish
Scrolling through your music playlists while driving could land you with a £200 fine from next year as laws are set to change.
While it is already illegal to text or make a phone call (other than in an emergency) using a hand-held device while driving, it was announced today, Friday November 19, from next laws will go further to ban drivers from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games.
This will mean anyone caught using their hand-held device while driving will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and 6 points on their licence.
Drivers will still be able to continue using a device ‘hands-free’ while driving, such as a sat-nav, if it’s secured in a cradle.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the changed to the law comes as ‘too many deaths’ are occurring while drivers continue to hold their phones.
He 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.
“While our roads remain among the safest in the world, we will continue working tirelessly to make them safer, including through our award-winning THINK! campaign, which challenges social norms among high-risk drivers.”
This follows a public consultation that found 81 percent of respondents supported proposals to strengthen the law and make it easier for culprits to be prosecuted.
Following the public consultation, the government will revise The Highway Code to explain the new measures.
It will also be more precise about the fact that being stationary in traffic counts as driving, making it clear that hand-held mobile phone use at traffic lights or in motorway jams is illegal except in very limited circumstances.
There will be an exemption to the new law for drivers making a contactless payment using their mobile phone while stationary to ensure the law keeps pace with technology.
This exemption will cover, for example, places like a drive-through restaurant or a road toll, and will only apply when payment is being made with a card reader.
It will not allow motorists to make general online payments while driving.