New driving proposals will see tougher measures introduced for mobile phone users with a loophole for using a device for non-communicative reasons closed. However, the DfT has confirmed that a current ban on using a phone to pay for food at a drive-thru restaurant will be scrapped.
The DfT said they would recognise that mobile phones were commonly used as a method of payment on drive-thru lanes.
In their bid to bring the law in line with modern technology, an exemption will apply for contactless payments.
Phone payments will now be allowed if a vehicle is stationary and the goods or services are delivered immediately.
Drivers should still not use their phone while waiting in the drive-thru lane such as checking a menu or scrolling through social media.
READ MORE: New driving law will see action taken against all mobile phone users
In late 2019, officers issued a ticket and a charge after a driver was “casually on his phone” while travelling through a McDonald’s drive-thru lane.
The offender was said to be “without a care in the world for other vehicles” and did not seem to notice the young children coming out of the restaurant.
Offers confirmed the offender would be issued penalty points and a driving fine for using the device while behind the wheel.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) has urged officers to use a common-sense approach in every case to avoid unnecessary punishment.
They have revealed that the offence may not apply if a driver was simply using their device in a slow drive-thru lane.
The simple loophole caused confusion in the summer when fast-food restaurants were asking drivers to order food via an app before collecting at the drive-thru window.
McDonald’s revealed this would ease congestion after heavy queues of more than two miles formed after the company reopened its doors.
The new phone rules have been put into place to prevent drivers from playing games, taking photos or scrolling through a playlist while they are travelling at high speeds.
Many offenders have escaped penalties due to a loophole where these actions did not fit the current definition of the rule which is a form of ”interactive communication”.
Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “Our roads are some of the safest in the world, but we want to make sure they’re safer still by bringing the law into the 21st century.
“That’s why we’re looking to strengthen the law to make using a hand-held phone while driving illegal in a wider range of circumstances.
“It’s distracting and dangerous and for too long risky drivers have been able to escape punishment, but this update will mean those doing the wrong thing will face the full force of the law.”