Drivers face tough new laws over cellphone use in vehicles

World problem: Mobile phone use while driving. PHOTO @IFC_org

London, UK | Xinhua | Drivers in Britain are to face fines and a risk to their driving licenses under stricter controls over the use of cellphones in their vehicles, the British Department for Transport (DfT) announced Friday.

While it is already illegal in Britain to text or make a phone call using a hand-held device while driving, the new laws, which will come into operation in 2022, will go further to ban drivers from using cellphones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games.

It will also outlaw the use of hand-held devices when vehicles are stopped at traffic lights or held up in a queue on a gridlocked motorway.

Offenders will face a 200-pound (269-U.S. dollar) fixed penalty notice and have 6 points on their driving license, risking a ban under a points totting-up system.

The tougher rules follow a public consultation that found 81 percent of respondents supported proposals to strengthen the law and make it easier for culprits to be prosecuted.

A study published Friday by the DfT revealed younger motorists are more likely to have used a handheld device while driving.

A poll conducted for the DfT by Ipsos MORI found around two thirds of 16-24 year olds used their cellphones in hand while stationary in traffic or at traffic lights, and about six in ten used their phones while moving in traffic.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Too many deaths and injuries occur while mobile phones are being held. By making it easier to prosecute people illegally using their phone at the wheel, we are ensuring the law is brought into the 21st century.”

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