It has been reported that UK motorists will be banned from using their mobile devices while driving. The new law will come into force in the year 2022, and it is hoped that this change will help reduce accidents on British roads. Drivers who are caught using their phones could face a £200 fine or six penalty points, which would also lead to increased private and motor trade insurance costs!
The Government is trying to stop drivers from using their devices in a variety of ways. This includes updating sat navs so they cannot be operated if the car is moving and installing technology that prevents phones from being used once a vehicle starts moving. Though the aim is for use on both new and used cars, this will only apply to cars produced after 2021/2022, as it will take time for vehicles to be updated.
The number of times hands-free devices have been used while driving has increased as some drivers continue to use them, the reason for this ban is because it is believed using a handheld device leads to a bigger impact on road safety and an increased risk of accidents, which could cause death or serious injury to motorists.
It has also been suggested that if motorists are caught using their phones behind the wheel, they might be made to re-take their driving test! Insurance policy holders will also face much stricter penalties if they choose to use their handsets while driving.
This idea is being proposed by Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Baroness Sugg. She believes that reducing risks caused by drivers using their devices is a real priority and, as a result, the Driving Standard Agency might have to re-look at how people can gain a license.
The new measures being put in place will also include vehicle manufacturers in the motor trade industry, making sure that it is difficult for drivers to pick up any electrical device while the car is moving. It has been suggested that the driver’s seat will be fixed in position, meaning drivers will not be able to turn around if they want to pick something up! Mike Hawes from the Motor Trade Association welcomes these new changes, saying they are “a sensible move”.
This decision was made after it was revealed by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) that during 2017/2018 police forces spent 6.5 million pounds dealing with accidents caused by drivers using their phones. It has also been claimed that since 2012, the number of people who have died on UK roads because they were on the phone behind the wheel has increased by 60 percent! However, it is believed by some experts that this figure might be too high.
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The RAC Foundation said: “We are concerned about an increase in the use of mobile phones at the wheel. It remains a serious concern because it is inherently dangerous and illegal, yet many motorists continue to do it.”
Despite this, other research put together by Dr. Mark Norman from Transport Research Laboratory suggests that there are far fewer accidents caused by drivers using their phones than those who take their eyes off the road.
Perhaps the most significant change that will be made will be for drivers to place their mobile devices in a secure box that is positioned at least one meter away from them while they drive! This idea was suggested by Senior Road Safety Officer at the DfT, Andrew Howard. The purpose of this small box would mean that it would be impossible for motorists to use their phones unnoticed.
It is hoped that, if the Government makes these changes, the number of accidents on British roads will reduce over time. An estimated 385,000 people use their phones while driving each day in Britain. As well as banning motorists from using their devices behind the wheel, it has been suggested that there are still ways of stopping drivers from doing this. Which includes allowing police officers to issue motorists with fixed penalties for using their phones at the wheel.
By 2022 it is likely that motorists will not be able to touch their phones behind the wheel at all, which includes using hands-free technology.