Motorists will face new fines of up to £200 for using their phones in traffic or watching music playlists

ENGINE is being warned to prepare for stricter regulations on the use of mobile phones while driving from next year.

Texting or calling while driving is already illegal, with a £200 fine, but the government is introducing new regulations to close gray zones when it comes to streaming music and taking photos.

Drivers are four times more likely to have an accident while driving if on their phone,


Drivers are four times more likely to have an accident while driving if on their phone,Credit: Alamy

Driving with a cell phone was banned in 2003, except when using a hands-free device.

But there is always a “legal loophole” in using your phone to scroll through a music playlist or take photos or videos on your phone while driving as they are not expressly prohibited in the Highway Code.

Here’s all you need to know.

What are the current laws on using cell phones while driving?

According to road safety campaigners Think!

Talking and texting on cell phones while driving has been banned for nearly two decades.

The only exceptions are if there is an emergency.

Using a mobile phone on a hands-free device is still legal.

You can also use satnav on your phone as long as the device is secured separately in the car and you are not holding it.

But smartphones are used for more functions now than they were in 2003, so the government wants to update the law.

What is changing?

A Supreme Court judgment in 2019 ruled that a driving offense was committed only when it was proved not only that the driver was holding the phone and using it, but also that the phone was in use. to perform the “interactive communication function”.

That includes making calls or sending texts rather than a standalone function like video recording.

In response, the Department for Transport launched a consultation last year to strengthen existing regulations so that any use of a hand-held mobile phone while driving is considered “reckless and danger.”

The government now says that from next year, the law will go further to ban motorists from using their phones to take pictures or videos, watch playlists or play games.

New wording will be added to the Highway Code to make it illegal to use phones at traffic lights or in traffic jams.

How much can you be fined for using your phone while driving?

The purpose of the changes is to improve road safety and make it easier for police to prosecute motorists using mobile phones.

The penalties are the same as the rules first introduced in 2003.

Offenders can face a fixed penalty notice of £200 or a fine of up to £2,500 in a magistrate’s court.

You will also receive six penalty points added to your license.

Comparison site also warned that there could be insurance implications if caught driving on your phone.

It says: “If you are a new driver who has passed your test within the last two years, you will automatically lose your license.

“Later, when it comes to renewing your car insurance, you may find your premiums multiply.

“If you have an accident while using your phone, you’ll find that your insurance provider may not cover you. So even when putting your own and others’ lives at risk, the That could prove expensive to you.

Couple fined by local council for jostling to let oncoming cars pass outside Swanscombe School

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Caroline Bleakley

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