Changing your playlist while driving to be banned under new law – with £200 fine

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Laws will also ban drivers from using mobile phones to take pictures or videos, scroll through playlists and play games.

From next year, tougher laws will be in force to ban the use of a mobile phone behind a wheel.

It is illegal to use a handheld device to make or receive a call while driving, except in an emergency.

Drivers will be prohibited from using their smartphones to take photos, videos, play games, or scroll through playlists.

This will mean anyone caught using their hand-held device while driving will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence.

Drivers will be able continue to use the device. ‘hands-free’ while driving, such as a sat-nav, if it’s secured in a cradle.

However, they must take full responsibility for driving. If the police discover that they are not in control of their vehicle, they can be charged with an offense.

Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary said: “Too many deaths and injuries occur while mobile phones are being held.

“We are making it easier for people to be prosecuted for illegally using their phones at the wheel. This will ensure that the law is brought up-to-date and protect all road users.

The Highway Code will be updated to reflect the new measures after the public consultation.

It will also clarify the fact that standing still in traffic is considered driving. Therefore, hand-held cell phone use in traffic jams or at traffic lights is illegal unless it is extremely rare.

To ensure technology keeps up with the law, there will be an exception to the new law that allows drivers to make contactless payments while driving.

This exemption will apply to places such as a drive-thru restaurant or road toll. It will not apply to payments made using a card reader. It does not permit motorists to make online payments while driving.

Mary Williams OBE, chief executive of Brake – the road safety charity, said: “Driver distraction can be deadly and using a hand-held phone at the wheel is never worth the risk. This important road safety decision by government, coinciding with Road Safety Week, is very welcomed.

“Families who have suffered bereavement or catastrophic injury as a result of drivers distracted by their phones are especially happy to hear this news. The theme for Road Safety Week is road safety heroes – we can all be road safety heroes by giving driving our full attention.”

The Department for Transport has also today published a study by Ipsos Mori about drivers who use mobile phones while driving.

Among other findings, the research reveals younger motorists are more likely to have used a handheld device at the wheel.