Outdated phone laws

Quite rightly road safety and breakdown organisation GEM want the Government to update the law on the use of mobile phones while driving.

And not before time. Current legislation was introduced in 2003.

Gem’s call comes after a builder used a technicality to escape an earlier conviction for using his phone illegally.

The law says that an offence is committed if a driver uses a handheld mobile phone for “interactive communication” behind the wheel.

Ramsey Baretto, 51, was caught filming the scene of a collision as he drove by.

But at the High Court Lady Justice Thirlwall interpreted “interactive communication” as meaning: “The legislation does not prohibit all use of a mobile phone held while driving.”

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said “The Government’s failure to bring legislation up to date is putting lives at risk.

“We now have an absurd situation where the wording of the law is insufficient and cumbersome, only stating “interactive communication” as an illegal use of a mobile phone when driving.

“Although penalties have increased, the specific wording of the law governing mobile phones and driving has not changed for 16 years. We are writing to the Government urging them to update the legislation at the earliest opportunity.

“This will ensure it is fit for purpose, and will avoid further compromise to road safety.

“No driver should be allowed to use a phone at any time.”

Specific mobile phone driving laws were introduced in December 2003 which saw motorists handed a £60 fine for an offence, before rising to £100 in 2013.

Fines increased to £100 and penalty points endorsements doubled in 2017, to act as a further deterrent.

A short GEM video, Kill the Conversation, sets out details of the mobile offence, the risks and the penalties.

Watch it here: