Drivers will be banned from filming or searching playlists on hand-held devices from next year under government plans to toughen road safety laws. It is already illegal to call or text on hand-held phones while driving unless it is an emergency.
From 2022, drivers will be barred from using a device to take photos or play games – with rule-breakers facing a £200 fine and six licence points.
The transport secretary said it would be easier to prosecute offenders.
Grant Shapps added: “Too many deaths and injuries occur whilst mobile phones are being held.
“By making it easier to prosecute people illegally using their phone at the wheel, we are ensuring the law is brought into the 21st Century while further protecting all road users.”
Currently, police have to rely on charging drivers with dangerous driving which lists “using a hand-held phone or other equipment” as one of its example offences.
The Highway Code will be updated to reflect the new rules – and to make clear to drivers that it is illegal to use a hand-held device while stopped at traffic lights or in motorway queues.
Motorists will still be allowed to use hands-free devices while driving, such as a sat-nav or mobile phone, if is secured in a cradle. But they must ensure they take full responsibility for their driving and can face charges if police find them not in proper control of their vehicle.