Transport Department Notices Smartphones Exist and Plans Law Change

By Gary Cutlack on at

Someone important at the Department for Transport must've been upgraded to an iPhone recently, as the government department has belatedly decided it's time to change the law to better restrict the use of smartphones while in charge of a leasehold motorised vehicle.

The current law has one massive loophole in it, in that it's only illegal to use a phone to call or text while driving. That decades-old legal definition does not include using your modern phone to take photos of a pile-up, browse social media, ironically play a 3D racing game or use a dating app to see if anyone else in this traffic jam fancies a wank in that layby; a fact that makes policing phone use on the roads rather difficult, as unless police can prove that some "interactive communication" was going on, the law can be circumvented.

That should change early next year, when even such modern activities as "scrolling through a playlist" will be added to the list of things you can't do while driving because they take your eyes off the road, as the government introduces new recommendations on distracted driving as produced by the Transport Select Committee.

Roads police boss Anthony Bangham said: "I welcome the government’s announcement to review the law in this area. Technology has moved on since the original offence was introduced and it's important to ensure any distraction to a driver is kept to an absolute minimum to keep all road users as safe as possible." [GOV]

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