DfT announces further clampdown on phone use while driving

01/11/2019
Dominic Browne

The Government is set to crack down on any hand-held mobile phone use while driving, including taking photos, browsing the internet or scrolling through a playlist.

A legal loophole that allowed drivers to escape prosecution for hand-held mobile phone use while behind the wheel is set to be closed, the Government has confirmed.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has announced plans to tighten up the existing laws and ministers will also consider strengthening the current penalties for hand-held mobile phone use.

However there are no plans to ban hands-free phone use.

An urgent review will be  expected to be in place by next spring, making the offence clearer for drivers and police forces.

Currently, the law prevents drivers from using a hand-held mobile phone to call or text.

However, lawyers have successfully argued that people caught filming or taking photos while driving should escape any punishment as these activities do not fit into the ‘interactive communication’ currently outlawed by the legislation.

The revised legislation will mean any driver caught texting, taking photos, browsing the internet or scrolling through a playlist while behind the wheel will be prosecuted for using a hand-held mobile phone while driving, the Department for Transport (DfT) pledged.

Mr Shapps said: 'Drivers who use a hand-held mobile phone are hindering their ability to spot hazards and react in time – putting people’s lives at risk.

'We welcome the Transport Select Committee’s report [on mobile phone use while driving], and share their drive to make our roads even safer, which is why this review will look to tighten up the existing law to bring it into the 21st century, preventing reckless driving and reducing accidents on our roads.'

The DfT said that if a driver looks at their phone for just two seconds when travelling at 30 miles per hour, whether to reply to a message or send a quick snap, they will travel 100 feet blind, drastically increasing the chance of a crash.

Nick Lloyd, Head of Road Safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents RoSPA  said: 'Drivers who use their phones are up to four times more likely to crash. RoSPA highlighted this loophole in the summer and is delighted that such prompt action is being taken to ensure that all hand-held mobile phone use is to be prohibited, making our roads safer for all.

'This action comes alongside further measures to tackle phone use while driving, including a review of road traffic policing and wider traffic enforcement to look at how roads policing currently works, its effectiveness, and where improvements could be made.'

Anthony Bangham, National Police Chiefs Council lead for roads policing, Chief Constable said: '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.'

Highways jobs

Principal Engineer (Highway Safety)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£30,507 - £38,813
Are you looking for an opportunity to work as a Principal Engineer, whilst still being able to develop your career and have a good work-life balance? Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Principal Engineer (Highways Operations)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£30,507 - £38,813
Are you looking for an opportunity to work as a Principal Engineer, whilst still being able to develop your career and have a good work-life balance? Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Principal Engineer (Highways Structures)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£30,507 - £38,813
Are you looking for an opportunity to work as a Principal Engineer, whilst still being able to develop your career and have a good work-life balance? Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Principal Engineer (Street Lighting)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£30,507 - £38,813
Are you looking for an opportunity to work as a Principal Engineer, whilst still being able to develop your career and have a good work-life balance? Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Principal Road Safety Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£42.684 - £45.585
We are looking for a fantastic new road safety expert to lead our high performing and innovative Road Safety Team. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Team Leader - Transport Planning

North Yorkshire County Council
£42,683 to £46,503 plus relocation support
Do you have a proven track record in Transport and Planning at a senior level? Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Environmental Health Officer (Food, Health & Safety) & Environmental Health Technical Officer

Dacorum Borough Council
£24,710 to £39,034
You will be highly motivated and be expected to deliver against a challenging work plan. London (Greater)
Recruiter: Dacorum Borough Council

Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£33,153 - £35,755
As an Engineer, you will be required to lead the delivery of a wide range of highway improvements and maintenance projects to deliver... Cambridgeshire
Recruiter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Highways Projects Technician

Cambridgeshire County Council
£18,795 - £21,166
Looking for strong team players interested in working with a variety of professional and community partners across Cambridgeshire and... Cambridgeshire
Recruiter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Assistant Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£21,589 - £31,371
Looking for strong team players interested in working with a variety of professional and community partners across Cambridgeshire and... Cambridgeshire
Recruiter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Traffic Management Group Manager

Devon County Council
£61,593
This is an exciting time for the Service with the immediate introduction of a new Permit scheme and significant programme of redesign and... Devon
Recruiter: Devon County Council

Ecological Consultant

Essex County Council
£22000 - £25000 per annum
Closing date
Recruiter: Essex County Council

Senior Engineer (Street Lighting & Furniture)

Hackney London Borough Council
£39,543 - £44,373
The role requires an individual who can demonstrate a track record of project and contract management relating to... Hackney, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Hackney London Borough Council

Highways Engineer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£31.548 - £33.291
You will be part of a wider team all focused on delivering a first class service.   Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Asset Management Technical Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£33,122 - £38,423
You will be responsible for providing technical support, including user support, identifying and implementing improvements and... Camden, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Camden London Borough Council

Environmental Improvement Officer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£29,636 - £33,799 per annum
We have an exciting opportunity to recruit to the position of Environmental Improvement Officer within Regulatory Services. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recruiter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Legal Officer - Planning and Highways

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£26,999 - £29,636
Kirklees Legal Services is one of the largest legal practices in the area and carries out and commissions legal work required by the Council Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Road Safety Engineer / Road Safety Auditor (all levels of experience)

TMS Consultancy
By negotiation
Purpose of the Job Depending on individual experience, candidates will be involved in a range of road safety engineering and traffic management pro... Coventry
Recruiter: TMS Consultancy

Senior Technical Officer

Newport City Council
£30,507 - £33,799
We are pleased to be seeking individuals to fill a new Senior Technical Officer post within Highways.    Newport (Casnewydd)
Recruiter: Newport City Council

Senior Technical Officer

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£24,799 - £29,636
The successful candidate will feed into the planning process, assessing applications in accordance with the... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue
  • Highways England at Westminster
  • Traffex Scotland and Bridges Scotland guide
  • Highways Awards winners
View the latest issue

Latest Video