Drivers To Be Banned From Touching Their Mobile Phones
Drivers are to be banned from touching their mobile phones.
At the moment, a legal loophole allows drivers to escape punishment for playing games or taking photographs while at the wheel.
However, new legislation will put an end to this, with drivers facing tougher penalties - though they will still be able to use them to pay at drive-throughs.
The Department of Transport has also said that hands-free systems will also still be permitted.
At the moment, using a mobile to make phone calls or to send text messages while driving is banned.
The new laws are set to go under consultation and are expected to come into force across the UK at some point next year.
According to reports, it will see drivers who are caught breaking the rules issued with six penalty points and a £200 ($258) fine.
Speaking about the move, National Police Chiefs' Council lead for Roads Policing, Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, said phones represented a real danger to drivers and pedestrians.
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He said: "Using a mobile phone while driving is incredibly dangerous and being distracted at the wheel can change lives forever.
"Police will take robust action against those using a hand-held mobile phone illegally and proposals to make the law clearer are welcome."
The current law states that it is illegal to use a device 'which performs an interactive communication' while driving - which has enabled some motorists to escape punishment.
For example, last year, Ramsey Barreto was found guilty after he was caught using his mobile to film the scene of a crash in 2018, but the 51-year-old managed to get off after appealing the decision.
Cases such as this led High Court judges to criticise the law, arguing it wasn't fit for the modern day and that change was needed.
According to the BBC, the Roads minister Baroness Vere said mobiles were 'distracting and dangerous' and the loophole had meant 'risky drivers have been able to escape punishment'.
These sentiments were echoed by RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes, who told the BBC: "The closing of this loophole is very welcome and reflects the multitude of ways drivers can use hand-held phones when behind the wheel in 2020.
"We know that the use of hand-held mobile phones at the wheel continues to represent a very real road safety risk, so it's clear more needs to be done to make this as socially unacceptable as drink-driving."
Featured Image Credit: PA