Government to close mobile phone loophole

A legal loophole which lets drivers escape prosecution for using a hand-held mobile phone while driving is about to be closed.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he would urgently bring forward a review to tighten up the existing law.The new proposals are expected to be in place by spring next year.

Up to now, it has been illegal for drivers to use their mobile to make a call or send a text on the grounds that it is ‘interactive communication’.But lawyers have successfully argued that drivers caught taking a photo or filming while driving does not count as interactive communication and their clients have escaped any punishment.

The legislation will be updated so that texting, taking photos, browsing the internet or scrolling through a playlist while driving will be dealt with in the same ay using a hand-held mobile while driving.

“We recognise that staying in touch with the world while travelling is an essential part of modern day life but we are also committed to making our roads safe,” Grant Shapps said.“Drivers who use a hand-held mobile phone are hindering their ability to spot hazards and react in time – putting people’s lives at risk.”

While ministers have also announced that they will consider the current penalties in place for hand-held mobile phone use, there are no plans at the moment to ban hands-free phone use.