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Dublin: 7 °C Sunday 9 December, 2018
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Relax taxi drivers … you won’t be in trouble for using your smartphone for directions

The Transport Minister clarified that “non-email communication received via the internet is not covered by the new regulations”.

Image: Sat Nav on phone via Shutterstock

LAST MONTH THE Transport Minister completely prohibited the practice of texting while driving.

Legislation had already outlined that drivers couldn’t operate a phone but Leo Varadkar said the law was not 100 per cent clear on whether it applied to sending a text or searching the web while the phone was in a cradle.

Fine Gael TD Andrew Doyle asked Minister Varadkar if taxi drivers who received automatic route information updates on navigation systems through their phones were breaking the law.

He wanted the Minister to “clarify for taxi drivers who enter their destination to their satellite navigation software on their smartphones, whether the automatic data updates for route information received during their journey is prohibited as being data access while driving under the new legislation”.

The Transport Minister replied that the new regulations make it an offence to send or read a text message from a mobile phone while driving. He added:

“These regulations apply to mobile phones which are not being held, i.e. to hands-free devices. A text message in these regulations includes an SMS or MMS message, or an email.

The automatic data updates from satellite navigation software operates over the internet, therefore it is neither SMS- nor MMS-based.

“Email operates over the internet. As the Regulation specify email, which does operate over the internet, this implies that non-email communication received via the internet is not covered by the regulations.”

Read: Texting while driving is BANNED from today>

Read: Banned- Texting while driving now ‘completely prohibited’>

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