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Mobile phones and driving law

IMPORTANT NEWS – Hand Held Devices and a Change in the Law

On 25 March 2022 the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2022 come into force and will close a gap in the law which required a mobile phone or device to be performing an interactive function for an offence to be committed. This requirement will be removed and an offence will be committed if a telephone or interactive communication device is held in the hand whilst driving whatever its function.

The Regulations include the following functions:

  • illuminating the screen;
  • checking the time;
  • checking notifications;
  • unlocking the device;
  • making, receiving, or rejecting a telephone or internet based call;
  • sending, receiving or uploading oral or written content;
  • sending, receiving or uploading a photo or video;
  • utilising camera, video, or sound recording functionality;
  • drafting any text;
  • accessing any stored data such as documents, books, audio files, photos, videos, films, playlists, notes or messages;
  • accessing an application;
  • accessing the internet.

The usual exemptions will apply if use is for a genuine emergency.

There is also a new exemption which applies when making a contactless payment at a contactless payment terminal. The vehicle must be stationary and you must be paying for goods or services supplied at the time of payment. The obvious example will be a drive through restaurant.

This will end any argument in court that the device being held wasn’t being used interactively, and it will no longer be necessary for police to show it was.

Mobile Phones

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