From Friday the 25th of March, the law on people using mobile phones is being updated. Making the law far stricter on motorists. This quick guide is going to cover what the changes are and why they are being implemented.
Why are the Changes Being Made?
The law making the use of mobile phones while driving was implemented in 2003 and was specified as “using a handheld device for interactive communication.” Interactive communication including calls and messaging. Almost everyone knows about this law and its significance.
But why is it being updated? As we are aware, the capability of mobile phones has grown massively over the last 20 years. With phones and devices now being able to run games, play music, watch videos and so much more. Actions that do not apply under “interactive communication.”
To put it straight, the changes to this law are being made to better represent the wide capabilities of mobile devices in the present day.
What are the Changes?
The new law being made the week of this guide being made widens the scope of the offence. And no longer solely focusing on “interactive communication”. Now it will be an offence to use mobile phones while driving regardless of why it is being used. Including the following:
- Turning on the screen
- Checking what the time is
- Inspecting notifications
- Unlocking a device
- Going onto an app
- Going onto the internet
- Using camera, video or sound recording
- Opening any saved data, like documents, videos, photos and more
- Interacting with a call (whether it is making, receiving or rejecting)
- Sending, receiving or uploading any form of audio or text content
- Sending, receiving of uploading any form of video or photo
- Drafting any text
There are two noticeable exceptions, the first being one already in place and that is in the situation of an emergency. The other, and a new exception, is when paying for a service at a payment terminal. Like when you pay to enter a car park or are buying a coffee. In this situation, the car must be completely stationary and the goods must be provided at the same time or after payment is made.
As mentioned, any hands-on use of a mobile phone (unless it comes under an exception) is illegal. But hands-free use is still perfectly permitted. For example, using a mobile device for navigation is perfectly legal as long as it is not in the driver's hand while in use. Instead, it must be placed in a sort of holder or cradle.
So, when in your car, you need to consider hands-free methods of interacting with your device. Like voice command, dashboard and window mounts and types of Bluetooth technology.
As mentioned at the beginning, this updated law will be in place from the 25th of March.
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