Making contactless payments whilst behind the wheel

Good to see they are adding an exception to the legislation to cater for people making contactless payments using their phone whilst stationary, e.g. at a drive-thru restaurant. I believe it’s currently illegal to do this if the engine is running, which seems bizarre. It’s essentially being used in the same way you would use a debit or credit card, not as a phone.

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It’s only specifically illegal to use your phone hand held as a phone at the moment. It’s not actually illegal to scroll through playlists etc or to pay at a drive through. Also, drive throughs aren’t roads, they are private property, so anything except being a dick is legal.

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I’m not a lawyer, but the Road Traffic Act (which deals with use of phones “while driving”) defines a road as follows:

in relation to England and Wales, [“road” means] any highway and any other road to which the public has access, and includes bridges over which a road passes

I think it’s very very likely that a drive through would be considered a road, and thus subject to these restrictions. (And indeed if you search you’ll find many sources, incl police forces, the RAC, the AA, and various newspapers, stating that using Apple/Google Pay at a drive through is illegal, unless you turn off the engine or something like that.)

To put it the other way around: something can be both a road and private property, as long as the public has access to it.

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Maybe you should’ve been. I stand corrected. :vulcan_salute:



Yes. A road can run across private property. If you ran someone over and killed them at the restaurant order window you could be prosecuted under the Road Traffic Act.

As always, it comes down to enforcement. There’s no one to stop all the nutters on the A1 bombing along at 90, so who is going to police this?!

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