Hands-Free Ban?


13 August 2019

By Roger Brice

Reported by the BBC this morning…

Are hands-free devices going to be banned?

Using a handheld phone while driving has been banned since 2003, but the Commons Transport Committee have said that using a hands-free device creates the "same risks of collision", and are suggesting that the law changes.

The news follows shortly after the law relating to using a mobile phone whilst driving might change. The High Court made it clear last week that the legislation does not prohibit all use of a mobile phone held while driving. Simply, that it prohibits driving while using a mobile phone or other device for calls and other interactive communication. Despite the confusing law surrounding using a handheld device, that needs updating, the law currently allows drivers to use hands-free devices, sat navs and two-way radios.

Worrying Statistics

In 2017, there were 773 casualties on Britain's roads – including 43 deaths and 135 serious injuries – in crashes where a driver using a mobile was a contributory factor.

If this eventually becomes enforced, it would mean drivers face the same punishment as using their actual phones at the wheel, which is, at present, three points on your licence and a fine of up to £1,000.

Chair of the Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, said: 

“Despite the real risk of catastrophic consequences for themselves, their passengers and other road users, far too many drivers continue to break the law by using hand-held mobile phones.

“If mobile phone use while driving is to become as socially unacceptable as drink driving much more effort needs to go into educating drivers about the risks and consequences of using a phone behind the wheel. Offenders also need to know there is a credible risk of being caught, and that there are serious consequences for being caught.

“There is also a misleading impression that hands-free use is safe. The reality is that any use of a phone distracts from a driver’s ability to pay full attention and the Government should consider extending the ban to reflect this.

“Each death and serious injury which results from a driver using a mobile phone is a tragedy that is entirely avoidable. We need tougher restrictions, better enforcement and more education to make our roads safer for all.”

Using a handsfree device, for now, is still legal. But when driving, keep in mind that police are still able to penalise drivers for not paying attention to the road.

Our specialist and highly experienced Motor Crime Team have helped many drivers who have been arrested for driving whilst using a mobile phone. If you or someone you know needs our help, contact Roger Brice, Senior Partner and Head of Gepp Solicitors Motor Law Team on 01206 369889 or via e-mail.

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.