Dutch justice trips over touching your phone becoming an offense
In the Netherlands a lot of commotion welled up last week when a local judge ruled that just touching your mobile phone while driving is a traffic offence, fined with 239 euro. The public prosecutor is appealing himself now to have a higher court decide whether this judgement will hold and will be applicable in the whole country.
A car driver went to court after being fined 239 euro by the police for ‘holding a phone in his hand behind the wheel’, while he claimed the phone was on a standard on the dashboard and he just touched the keypad.
The Dutch law stipulates that holding a phone while driving is an offence, not using a phone in the car as such. The local judge decided that even when touching a phone in its standard it is distracting the driver and becomes a hazard.
The prosecutor now wants clarity. “We see on tv, in reality shows as Wegmisbruikers (‘road abusers’), police sometimes advising people to use earphones or a phone standard. We want to define clearly what ‘holding a phone’ means by law to be able to instruct our police officers correctly”.
Total ban on touching phones
Road safety organization Veilig Verkeer Nederland (VVN) says it is in favour of a total ban on touching a phone while driving, because the seductiveness of answering a call, sms or other signal on your phone is so great, that people are drawn to it automatically.
VVN doesn’t say it would also mean you wouldn’t be allowed anymore to operate the car radio or the air conditioning, because “these are far less complicated actions that don’t distract so much”.