Texting and making phone calls while driving is already forbidden unless it’s an emergency. However, starting next year, any use of cell phones while driving would be considered prohibited, including taking photos or videos, playing games, or scrolling over playlists and some other content.
Even if their vehicle isn’t moving, drivers can’t do any of these things. The Highway Code will be revised by the government to clarify that being motionless on the road, such as at traffic lights or in the middle of traffic congestion, is still considered driving. Anyone spotted using their phone in any of those situations will be charged £200 (US$269) and receive six penalty points on their license, meaning new drivers’ licenses may be canceled.
The sole exception is if they’re paying with their phone at a payment terminal, such as at a drive-through booth or a toll gate. Paying for online and offline shopping purchases is not an adequate reason for avoiding punishment if discovered. It’s worth noting that drivers can use their gadgets hands-free, such as for navigation, as long as they’re in a dock.
The UK has long planned to tighten a legal loophole that allows drivers to use their phones as long as they aren’t texting or making phone calls. Authorities sought public input on increasing existing rules, and 81 percent of respondents appeared to be in favor.