Making service personal
The Old Coach House, Corsham
0333 220 0501
Making service personal
The Old Coach House, Corsham
0333 220 0501

Mobile phone law change

As of March 25th 2022, the mobile phone law has changed, and new regulations came into force regarding the definition of phone use whilst in control of a vehicle.

The regulations widen the scope of the offence to include any use of a mobile telephone or interactive communication device held in the hand whilst driving. These provisions remove the requirement that the driver is using the mobile telephone or interactive communication device to perform an interactive communication function, meaning it will be an offence to illuminate the screen and check the time or notifications amongst other new offences.

The Government has made six changes to Rule 149 of the Highway Code, which concerns the use of mobile phones while driving. The changes include:

  • The first change to Rule 149 is to make it clear that the offence is triggered by any use of a hand-held mobile phone or similar device while driving.
  • The second and third changes to Rule 149 are to explain that the offence covers devices that are capable of interactive communication and that the offence applies even if that capability is switched off.
  • The fourth change to Rule 149 describes the new exemption for when the driver is stationary and holding a phone to make a contactless payment for goods or services that they will receive at that time or afterwards, for example at a drive-through food outlet.
  • The fifth and sixth changes to Rule 149 explain that drivers must not pick up a phone or similar device to dial a number and they must not use a hand-held mobile phone or similar device whilst stationary in traffic.

For full details of the changes, click here.

Distraction is the impact on a drivers’ mental capacity to undertake the roles necessary, and if you’re trying to search and upload a particular episode of your favourite podcast while travelling at 70mph on motorway, this inevitably takes away the drivers’ focus from the road.

It also doesn’t help when some items, such as volume and climate controls are hidden on screens, and a driver must take their eyes off the road to land their finger on the right part of the screen to access various sub menus and virtual buttons.

Another aspect of in-vehicle technology is the active safety systems, such as collision avoidance, auto steer and radar cruise control. As an industry we must ensure drivers are aware these measures are an assistance, and not a means to avoiding collisions. They are there to back up the driver, not take over, and drivers need to realise the technology in their vehicles is not in charge, or somehow allows them to relinquish responsibility.

It is imperative businesses put clear guidance in place, so the potential for distraction can be mitigated before the vehicle is even started.

   

 

It is also crucial to ensure your drivers understand what the active safety systems in the vehicle are. If they are happily driving along thinking that the car will brake and steer them out of every possible situation, they are in for a very big, potentially tragic, shock.

With the stricter new mobile phone law, now is the ideal time to reset your fleet risk management policies around distraction, so that it is fit for purpose in the increasingly technological environment drivers work.

 

Photo by Alexandre Boucher on Unsplash