Expanding the offence of using a hand-held mobile phone while driving


Between October 2020 and January 2021, the government ran a consultation seeking views on proposals to expand the mobile phones while driving rules to include the use of stored, non-connected ('standalone mode' or 'flight mode') functions.


This report sets out the government's response to the comments received. It also explains how the government intends to act on the main proposals, as well as on some of the more salient and constructive comments made by consultees.


The Department for Transport (DfT) says it intends to implement the main change proposed in the consultation; that is, to amend the law so that the offence of using a hand-held mobile phone while driving captures drivers who are using their phone for ‘standalone’ functions, as well as those using interactive communication functions. ‘Standalone’ activities include things like searching for music stored on the phone or taking photographs.


It is proposed to implement this change at the earliest opportunity, so that the police can enforce the offence in a more straightforward way.


DfT noted the misunderstandings and requests for clarification received in response to this proposal (for example, relating to the use of satnavs on phones and whether the stop phase of stop-start engines allows a driver lawfully to use a hand-held mobile phone) and plans to deal with them by expanding guidance on GOV.UK and making slight alterations to The Highway Code.


The government also intends to implement the change that proposed to allow an exemption from the offence of using a hand-held mobile phone while driving to make a contactless payment.


The response report is available here.


Department for Transport November 2021



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