After one driver got off a charge made because he was FILMING an accident whilst driving past the scene and not making a PHONE CALL, legal chiefs are closing loopholes in mobile phone use.
The Government has announced that the loophole that allows drivers to escape prosecution for mobile phone use if they’re using their device to: take photos, film, scroll through the internet or look for music whilst driving will be closed.
Amazingly, a driver can legally use their phone if it’s not deemed “interactive communication”. That was a loophole clearly allowed in law that driver Ramsey Barreto used when he successfully appealed a conviction for filming the scene of a crash whilst he drove past earlier this year. Barreto’s lawyers argued that the current rules for mobile phone use were not broken because Barreto wasn’t using his phone for “interactive communication”.
Now Transport Secretary Grant Schapps has said that an urgent review will be carried out to tighten up the current ruling on hand-held mobile phone use by motorists. The Department for Transport (DfT) said it will revise the legislation so that ANY driver caught using a hand-held phone behind the wheel can be prosecuted – including if they’re texting, taking photos, browsing the internet or scrolling through a playlist.
The new law is expected to be in place by next Spring.
The suggestion for the law change comes as part of a recent report by the Commons’ Transport Select committee which called for a toughening up on mobile phone use whilst driving. The Committee also recommended that ministers should look into a ban on hands-free use whilst driving – currently the DfT has no plans to introduce that aspect of phone use while behind the wheel.
Now all we need are the coppers on the roads to enforce the law and do the job. How about that as the next step, Government?