29 Nov 2019

Government Takes Action on Loophole for Using Phone to Film While Driving

A legal loophole that has seen drivers escape prosecution after being caught using their phones is to be closed.

A number of drivers have had legal action dropped after claiming to have been using their phones to take photos or videos when spotted, and therefore not using the device to 'communicate' while behind the wheel.

It is currently illegal to make a call or text by holding a phone whilst driving. Now, however, the government is moving to include the likes of browsing music, searching online, and other more modern features in order to make sure the law catches up with the capabilities of current smartphone technology.

The wording of the current legislation reads that it is illegal to use a device 'which performs an interactive communication'. It is this interactive element which has allowed drivers to successfully escape fines and points.

The current wording of the law has been heavily criticised following the case of Ramsey Barreto, a 51-year old who this year successfully appealed a conviction for using his phone to film a crash in 2017. Two High Court Judges used the opportunity to speak out against the outdated law, noting that it had failed to evolve to suit the uses of smartphones.

Speaking about the need for the law to be changed to reflect modern times, the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said: "We recognise that staying in touch with the world while travelling is an essential part of modern-day life," adding, "we are also committed to making our roads safe."

According to the Department of Transport, the review will be carried out “urgently” while further proposals are due to be announced soon in order to be in place by next spring.

We at Winns would urge all drivers to leave their phones alone while driving. Being distracted while driving is a hugely common cause of accidents, and full care and attention should be given to the road at all times.

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