Telephone iconCall UsTelephone icon0333 0146 683
Our opening hours
Chevron left icon
Knowledge centre

Using a mobile phone at the wheel: the legal loophole that’s being closed

2-minute read

Corissa Nunn

28 October 2020

Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn icon

Do you drive for work? You’ll be glad to hear that the roads should soon become a safer place for tradespeople.

On 17 October 2020, the government announced a public consultation period for the proposed updates to UK law. Let’s take a look at the situation today and what’s set to change.

Why is there a problem with UK driving legislation as it stands?

Some aspects of mobile phone use are already ruled out when you’re in charge of a vehicle. As you might expect, you’re not allowed to pick up your phone to send a text or make a call.

But you might be surprised to hear that it’s not currently illegal to answer a call on a handheld device.

Even more surprisingly, if you use your phone to play games or watch videos, in the eyes of the law you wouldn’t be doing anything “wrong”.

Common sense aside – this is a rather large loophole that leaves the public at risk.

Last year 18 deaths and 135 serious injuries were reported in accidents where the driver was using a mobile phone, according to the RAC.

The RAC have also found that 13 per cent of drivers aged 25 to 44 say they make or receive video calls while driving, and 9 per cent of drivers aged 17 to 24 admit to playing games on their phone.

To tackle this dangerous behaviour, the Department for Transport recently announced plans to close the loophole in the legislation.

What are the proposed changes for 2021?

The government wants to spell out the offence of using a mobile phone while driving to include 'standalone mode functions as well as the existing interactive communication functions'.

Anyone who’s caught breaking the rules would face six penalty points on their driving licence and a £200 fine.

At the same time, there are plans to add an exemption that will allow drivers to use their phone to make contactless payments using their phone when it makes sense. For example, at a drive thru takeaway.

Any changes that come into force will be brought through into the Highway Code.

The public consultation period will run until 17 January 2021. Want to weigh in? You can share your thoughts with the Department for Transport via this page on gov.uk.

Will the new law rule out using hands-free phone functions?

No – but as many of us know, hands-free doesn’t always mean distraction-free. This issue has come up in parliament a few times in the past, so the law might eventually change on that front too.

How do you feel about this shift? What role does driving play for you and your trade? Let us know in the comments below.

Looking for self-employed insurance?

With Simply Business you can build a single self employed insurance policy combining the covers that are relevant to you. Whether it's public liability insurance, professional indemnity or whatever else you need, we'll run you a quick quote online, and let you decide if we're a good fit.

Start your quote

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

Find this article useful? Spread the word.

Facebook icon
Share
Twitter icon
Tweet
LinkedIn icon
Post

People also liked

12 March 20202-minute read

What the UK Budget 2020 means for landlords

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the first UK Budget since October 2018 amid continuing political and economic uncertainty. Here’s the key…

Read more

Keep up to date with Simply Business. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and follow us on social media.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Categories

Popular articlesBusiness resources from FarillioGeneral businessGuestInsuranceLandlordLandlord resources from FarillioLegal and financeMarketingNewsOpinionProperty maintenanceTradesmanCovid-19 business support hub

Address

6th Floor99 Gresham StreetLondonEC2V 7NG

Sol House29 St Katherine's StreetNorthamptonNN1 2QZ

© Copyright 2020 Simply Business. All Rights Reserved. Simply Business is a trading name of Xbridge Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Registration No: 313348). Xbridge Limited (No: 3967717) has its registered office at 6th Floor, 99 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7NG.