France Introduces New In-Car Smartphone Ban

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France has introduced a new in-car smartphone ban to try and help decrease the amount of driving deaths that have been on the incline. According to a new report from Le Figaro, France's new ban on smartphone use while behind the wheel of a vehicle means that you're not able to put your hands on the device unless you're parked in a designated spot and the engine is turned off. This is as opposed to simply being able to pull over on the side of the road and turn off the ignition if the driver wanted or needed to respond to a call or text message, a decision thought much safer than attempting to use the phone while still driving.

The new changes to the law surrounding smartphone use while in the car and behind the wheel is a decision made by France's high court, and if caught, drivers could be fined up to the amount of €135 in addition to having points added to their driving record. The new changes to the law reportedly only apply while on public roads, so pulling over and using the phone on a private road is presumably still ok without any fear of breaking the law.

Though in most cases it's now a violation of the law to pull over on a public road and use the phone for any reason, drivers who have either had their car break down or have been in an accident are still able to use the phone while behind the wheel, so there are some circumstances where this doesn't apply. The law's changes take a somewhat more heavy-handed approach to smartphone use while driving than that of Oregon's new law in the U.S., which was changed back on October 1, 2017, and prohibits the use of any smartphone functions that require the driver to hold or touch the phone unless it's limited to a single swipe or a single touch, though it's also worth keeping in mind that another difference is that Oregon's law doesn't prohibit use of any functions if the driver is pulled over in a safe area, such as a parking spot or on the side of the road.

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