A BLANKET ban on holding a mobile phone while driving is going to be introduced.

A loophole in the current law means drivers can be prosecuted only if they are caught using hand-held phones to call or text, with those who take photos or scroll through music playlists exempt from punishment.

But in a major change to the law announced today, motorists are to be banned from picking up their mobiles for any reason.

Drivers caught holding phones for reasons such as browsing social media or inputting a satnav location now face six points and a fine of up to £200.

Police have struggled to enforce the current law because they are often unable to prove exactly what drivers are using their phones for.

Critics have also argued the existing rules fail to reflect the reality that drivers pick up their phones for many reasons other than calling or texting.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the change to the law will 'bring it into the 21st century'.

"We recognise that staying in touch with the world while travelling is an essential part of modern-day life but we are also committed to making our roads safe," he added.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is pushing the review forward as a 'matter of urgency' and hopes to have the law changed by spring next year.

Before then, officials need to test the various amendments with the public to make sure the law is as clear as it can be and is fully understood.

A survey by the RAC last month revealed that millions of drivers are continuing to use mobiles.

The research found that 35 per cent of drivers under the age of 25 – and 17 per cent of drivers overall – admitted taking their eyes off the road to check texts, email or social media.

If a driver looks at their phone for just two seconds while travelling at 30mph, they will travel 100ft blind, drastically increasing the chance of an accident.