The announcement that UK drivers will be banned from filming or searching for playlists on hand-held devices from next year will be welcome news for many and goes some way towards making our roads a safer place for all road users.
This offence has evolved over the years. It was introduced in 2003 as a fine only offence before a revision in 2007 led to motorists receiving 3 penalty points alongside that fine. Given the growing popularity of mobile phones and their everyday use in society as well as the development of the functions available on those phones, we saw mobile phone related offences increased in number as well as seriousness. In response to this, in 2017, the penalty for using a mobile phone whilst driving was increased to 6 points and a fine. Some say that increase did not go far enough.
One area where there is almost universal agreement is that the 'use' of a phone should not be restricted to the 'interactive communication' functions as defined by clearly outdated regulations. People's interactions with phones have evolved alongside the evolution of the phones themselves. For the sake of road safety, it is about time the law was modernised to reflect this.
As ever, the challenge will come back to both education and enforcement. Many drivers have ingrained habits when behind the wheel and unfortunately some don’t hesitate to check their phones, often below the line of sight for any passing police officer to notice.
While this legislation will certainly act as a greater deterrent, it is important that we now see a sustained effort to educate drivers of this change as well as tough enforcement from the police.
If you find yourself at risk of prosecution involving any driving related offence our specialist motoring lawyers can advise you on the appropriate strategy and provide effective representation at each stage of the proceedings. You can contact our team on 0161 696 6250 .