Use of a phone while driving is always dangerous, and almost all countries have strict rules against it. However, France believes the use of a phone is a risk even in a parked car, and hence, has decided to ban it.
Using phone while driving – what’s banned and what’s not
France has not come up with a new law to ban the use of a phone in a pulled over car. Rather, the authorities have changed the definition of “circulating in traffic.” Previously, the law was that if anyone is circulating in traffic, it is illegal to use a phone. The new ruling, however, modifies the definition of “circulating.”
Based on the new ruling, you are allowed to use a phone if your car is parked in a designated parking spot, Le Figaro reports (via Engadget). It means that you may still end up paying the 135 euros fine even if you park at the side of the road and stop the engine to take a call. Along with the fine, three points will be deducted to your license for three years as well. In case of an accident or breakdown, however, the driver is allowed to call or text.
This new rule will surely prove controversial. Though it clarifies the exact place where the drivers must stop to take a call, at the same time it is potentially penalizing them for being responsible enough not to use the phone while driving.
France’s equivalent of AAA, the Automobile Club Association, has criticized the new ruling. Speaking to Le Figaro, the spokesman for the association said, “I think we should encourage motorists to stop when they’re using their phones.”
Rising accident rate – a growing concern for France
This latest ruling follows an appeal against a fine from a driver, who parked the car at a roundabout with hazard lights on to take a call (totally irresponsible), according to Alphr. France lately has introduced several new laws to check the rising accident rate. The country recently came up with lowering the speed limit on two-lane roads from 90 to 80 km/h (55 to 50 mph), notes Engadget. Use of the hands-free kit is already banned in France since 2015. Speaker systems, however, are permitted.
The latest measure reasserts the fact that the French government is surely making rigorous efforts to fight the growing deaths on the country’s roads, and is focusing mainly on speeding drivers and motorists who use their smartphones while driving. In 2015, about 300,000 drivers were fined in France for use of their phone while driving, according to thelocal.fr.
Further, nine out of 10 drivers in France, in a recent survey, admitted using the phone to make a call, or checking a message received while driving. In 2016, the death toll as a result of fatal accidents on roads reached 3,469 in the country.