A change in law which toughens the rules around mobile phone use behind the wheel has come into effect, in a move welcomed by Road Safety GB.

First announced in November 2021, the new law bans drivers from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games.

Previous law had stated it is a criminal offence to use a hand-held mobile phone to call or text while driving – but a legal loophole ensured drivers had escaped punishment for other actions such as taking photos.

This is because such actions weren’t seen as ‘interactive communication’, and therefore did not fit the previous definition of the offence.

The new law comes into effect today 25 March 2022 – and means anyone caught using their hand-held device while driving will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence.

Bill Smith, director of communications at Road Safety GB, said: “As what we can do with mobile phones in our everyday life has developed, it is only right that the law is updated and strengthened to keep abreast of these changes.

“The move will make it easier for police to enforce and prosecute ‘inappropriate’ use of these devices when behind the wheel of a vehicle.

“The law change is required to deter use of mobile phones as research has shown that drivers are four times more likely to crash if using their phone whilst behind the wheel – even careful drivers can be distracted by taking a call or reading a text.

“We are aware that public support for a long overdue change in law is high and Road Safety GB is fully behind the positive casualty reduction sentiments expressed by the public prior to the new legislation being placed on the Statute Book.

“Road Safety GB welcome this change in law and look forward to working with the DfT to promote behaviour change through education and publicity measures, not only in relation to driver mobile phone use but in all areas of safety on our roads.”