In a recent development, the UK Government has set plans in place to make the use of hand-held mobile phone devices illegal whilst driving – under nearly all circumstances. This action, coming into full effect at the beginning of 2022, will tighten existing regulations to further improve road safety.

The Road Vehicle Regulations Amendment, issued in 2003, prohibited drivers from “using a held-hand mobile telephone or a hand-held device for an interactive communication function.” [1]. However, this regulation left open a loophole for the use of hand-held devices to take photos/videos, play games, search through playlists and more. With the new amendments, these actions will become illegal. The Highway Code will also be updated in-line with these changes, to emphasize that the use of hand-held devices when the vehicle is stationary (for example at traffic lights or in queues) is illegal. 

Handsfree Group was founded in 2004, shortly after The Road Vehicle Regulations Amendment of 2003 came into place. This made hands-free products and accessories essential for fleet drivers who need to maintain contact with transport operations and customers throughout their working day. Matthew Johnson and Scott Cassell began the company to install hands-free kits and fixed vehicle phones into fleets. Allowing drivers to continue to use much needed systems and software safely, whilst significantly reducing driver distraction.

17 years later, the company has grown exponentially, with 100+ employees in locations across Manchester, York, and the United States. True to their roots, the company has continued to develop products to support hands-free device usage, working with transport, logistics, fleet, and mission critical clients.

What does this mean moving forwards?

Moving forwards, these new regulations will continue to shape the future of fixed vehicle devices; ultimately encouraging the integration of all functionalities currently controlled by mobile phones into in-vehicle technology. Handsfree Group are ready to assist all customers in adjusting to remain fully compliant with the upcoming legislation changes. As a team, Handsfree Group are looking forward to the new challenges and opportunities that important regulations such as this one brings.

“With 17 years of experience fitting communication solutions into many of the UK’s largest fleets, Handsfree Group are well placed to ensure that fleets remain compliant with the recent changes to legislation. Between our Install Hub in the North of England and our Nationwide Team of Engineers, Handsfree Group can mobilise quickly to install a range of compliant solutions; from a simple truck phone to petroleum regulated solutions, all the way though to in-vehicle ruggedised laptops and fixed vehicle communication devices.”

– Michael Higginbottom, Sales Director of Handsfree Group UK

References:

[1] https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/road-traffic-mobile-phones

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/any-use-of-hand-held-mobile-phone-while-driving-to-become-illegal

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-59339961

https://handsfree.co.uk/about-us/

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