Estate agents won’t be able to craftily check their social media feed, emails and choose some tunes while waiting at traffic lights or photograph a new property while driving following a mobile phones clampdown next year.
While it’s already illegal to text or make a phone call using a hand-held device while driving, new laws will go further to ban drivers from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games.
Changes to The Highway Code to explain the new measures will make it clear that being stationary in traffic counts as driving and that hand-held mobile phone use at traffic lights or in motorway jams is illegal except in very limited circumstances.
Those caught out will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence.
Drivers will still be able to use a device ‘hands-free’ while driving, such as a sat-nav, if it’s secured in a cradle, while they will be allowed to make a contactless payment using their mobile at a drive-through restaurant or road toll.
This legal change follows a public consultation that found 81% of people supported proposals to strengthen the law and make it easier for culprits to be prosecuted. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says it brings the law into the 21st century while further protecting all road users.
“While our roads remain among the safest in the world, we will continue working tirelessly to make them safer, including through our award-winning THINK! Campaign, which challenges social norms among high-risk drivers,” he adds.
The Department for Transport has also published research which reveals younger motorists are more likely to have used a handheld device at the wheel.