Tighter laws around mobile phone use behind the wheel are set to come in this new year in different locations.
The UK DfT announced last year the intention of making mobile phone use illegal in all circumstances while driving, as it is now currently illegal only to receive calls and texts while driving, but no mention is made of taking pictures, playing games or browsing the web, as according to the current legislation these are not classified as "interactive communication". In the spring of 2021 changes are going to be made to tackle this legal loophole.
But the UK is not the only place where distracted driving rules are going to be reinforced: the American state of Virginia has made it effective on January 1st, 2021: the law now forbids to "hold a handheld personal communications device (e.g., a smartphone)" while driving (with some exceptions such as emergency vehicle operators, drivers who are stopped or people reporting an emergency). The catchphrase of the campaign that was started in July to educate drivers is "Phone down, it's the law" and a brilliant campaign is airing to sensitize drivers to "put down their phone:
Canada has also started 2021 with a new distracted driving law, which is reinforcing the former one. Distracted driving is in fact no longer limited to just texting and making phone calls. The Government of Canada has posted a list of activities that count as distracted driving and it includes anything from simply holding an electronic device in one’s hand to eating while behind the wheel. The government announced that they will no longer let people off with warning if they are caught distracted driving and guilty offenders will automatically be slapped with straight fines.