How the law around using your phone while driving is changing

Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

The government is planning on strengthening laws around using mobile phones while driving - Credit: PA

Drivers will soon be banned from choosing music at the wheel as a part of a crackdown on road safety.

The government is planning on strengthening laws next year to make it easier to prosecute drivers using their phones at the wheel.

Currently, drivers are banned from texting and making non-emergency phone calls using a handheld device.

This law will be expanded to include drivers taking photos or videos, scrolling through playlists, or playing games on their phones.

The Highway Code will also be revised to make it clear that being stationary in traffic counts as driving and mobile phone use at traffic lights or in motorway jams will be illegal except in very limited circumstances.

Drivers will still be able to use their mobile phones to call emergency services and for navigation, so long as they are secured in a cradle.

Those caught using phones will face a £200 fine and get six points on their license.

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Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “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."

The crackdown comes after a public consultation which found 81pc of respondents supported proposals to strengthen the law.

President of the AA Edmund King said: “By making mobile phone use as socially unacceptable as drink-driving, we are taking big steps to make our roads safer. For years, the AA has campaigned hard and helped educate drivers to the dangers from bad mobile phone use.

“To help ensure drivers get the message, we also need more cops in cars to help catch and deter those still tempted to pick up.”

RAC road safety spokesman Simon Williams said: “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.

“While today’s announcement is clearly good news, it’s absolutely vital that the new law is vigorously enforced otherwise there’s a risk that it won’t deliver the sort of behaviour change that will make our roads safer.”