A French court last week banned the use of cell phones in cars, even if they were stopped with the warning flash on. In the court’s opinion, the only time a driver can use his cell phone inside his car is when he is parked at an allowed location, such as a parking lot or a private driveway.
The only exception is if the driver’s car breaks down in the middle of the street. Those who do not comply with the law are subject to a fine of 135 euros and three points in their portfolio, which only expire after three years. This law, however, only applies to cell phones in the hands of the driver. Cars that connect to the phone and allow it to be used by direction controls or voice commands are released.
This is not a new law – France has for a long time barred drivers from using their cell phones while they are “circled”. The case, however, happened when a driver resorted to a fine he took in 2017 for using the phone in the car, claiming that he was stopped and therefore not at risk. The court did not accept the appeal and maintained the fine.
Although the measure may seem exaggerated, it is, according to The Local, an attempt by the government to reduce the number of road deaths in France. This number has been increasing year by year since 2014, reaching 3,469 deaths in 2016. This is the largest continuous increase since 1972, and the government associates this increase with the increasing use of cell phones in the wheel.
Yves Carras, one of the interviewees heard by Le Figaro, suggests that change may, in the end, have the opposite effect. “I think it would be better to encourage drivers to stop when they’re using their cell phone,” he said. In addition to this measure, the government also reduced the maximum speed of two-lane roads from 90 to 80 kilometers per hour, according to Engadget.