Rise in under-25s video calling when driving

Government work to close mobile phone loophole

Rise in under-25s video calling when driving

The RAC have reported an increase in under-25s video calling and using their phones while driving, with recent data suggesting that one in five are using FaceTime, SnapChat or WhatsApp at the wheel.

The law banning the use of mobile phones while driving was introduced in 2003, prior to the widespread use of smart phones.

As such, it generally refers to the making and taking of calls.

This loophole is now being reviewed in line with recent technological developments.

The RAC says that the number of drivers making and taking calls illegally is currently at the highest level since 2016.

According to a study conducted by the organisation, younger drivers are more than twice as likely to say they make or receive video calls while driving.

Almost one in 10 drivers aged 17-24 admit to playing games on their phones while driving.

Specialist Lawyer Ronnie Simpson said:

“The general rule is that you cannot hold your mobile in your hand and use it whilst driving, so hands-free tends to be ok, but texting is not.

“If you’re not looking at the camera and not engaging – and you’re engaging with the road – I suppose there’s no difference in making a telephone call.

“It’s simply dangerous driving and should be punished.

“The key issue is safety. If you’re looking at your phone, you’re not looking at the road.”

Simon Williams from the RAC added:

“The bar to convict somebody under the current offence of using a handheld mobile phone while driving is high, making it difficult for the police to enforce.

“Any mobile phone activity that doesn’t involve telecommunications, such as checking text messages, recording a video or changing pre-downloaded music, is bizarrely not covered by the set mobile phone laws, although drivers could be convicted for not being in proper control of their vehicles.”

Kiera started working for Gi Media in January 2020. She completed her BA at Middlesex University in 2017, and went on to complete her Masters degree at University College London. She has written for a range of academic and creative journals.