We should be allowed to touch our phones when driving (part 2)

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I wrote this article yesterday and Neil responded with some valid corrections-

There is no “new law”. It’s just an increase in penalty for laws which have been around for *years* now.

> even if you come to a standstill you are not allowed to tap the screen twice to re-route yourself.

This is wrong. You can. As long as the device is not “handheld”, you do not break this law. (You still need to ensure that you are driving with due care and attention, of course.)

OK, fair enough. And then Jon said-

Are the enforcing authorities, i.e the Police not allowed to use their radios they have attached to their chests then? That is handheld no?

Neil replied-

> That is handheld no?

“a mobile telephone or other device is to be treated as hand-held if it is, or must be, held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call or performing any other interactive communication function”

If it is attached to the chest, and they just press a button on it, without holding it, then, no, not hand-held.

> the Police not allowed to use their radios

Leaving aside the broader issue of enforcement of laws against police in certain situations, the rules here do not apply to any “two-way radio”, which is defined as:

“any wireless telegraphy apparatus which is designed or adapted—
(i)for the purpose of transmitting and receiving spoken messages; and
(ii)to operate on any frequency other than 880 MHz to 915 MHz, 925 MHz to 960 MHz, 1710 MHz to 1785 MHz, 1805 MHz to 1880 MHz, 1900 MHz to 1980 MHz or 2110 MHz to 2170 MHz;”

The point makes sense regarding the “if it is, or must be, held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call” phrase. So, in theory you could tap the screen of your phone to answer a call? You are not holding it if it is in a cradle.

I recognise that laws tend to have to be black or white for them to withstand countless appeals for every possible situation and I realise that many people abuse the use of phones when driving, but the whole idea of navigation strikes me as being left out.

Are we seriously saying that tapping a screen to re-route or check for the nearest petrol station when running out of fuel is not the safest possible option?

Then again, I can always ask Siri when my beloved football team, Bournemouth, are next playing while driving-

siri.jpg

That went well, as usual…

One thought on “We should be allowed to touch our phones when driving (part 2)

  1. > So, in theory you could tap the screen of your phone to answer a call? You are not holding it if it is in a cradle.

    Yes.

    (I spent a few minutes yesterday trying to find this “new law”, and all I found was a change to the penalties for breach of the existing law. If there is something new, it is not readily available.)

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