France Could Fine Smartphone Use While Driving, Even if You're Parked Up

Tuesday, 06 Feb, 2018

No, not millennials, the smartphone. The country is moving to ban holding a phone while pulled over on public roads, even if a vehicle isn't blocking traffic.

Rather than introduce a new law, reports Le Figaro, authorities have just changed the definition of what it means to be driving a vehicle. A call comes through as you're driving home from work, and you find somewhere safe to pull over and accept it.

There will be some exceptions and that is only if you are in an accident or your auto has broken down that you are allowed to pull over and use your phone.

The ruling follows a fine repeal from a driver who was parked at a roundabout with his hazard lights on. Previously, you were no longer considered driving if you pulled over at the side of the road and switched off your engine, but the law now says that you only cease driving when parked off-road or in a designated parking spot.

A representative from French driver group L'Automobile Club Association expressed concern about the new rule, telling Le Figaro that drivers should be encouraged to use their phones while stationary.

France really doesn't want drivers to use phones on the road. Watching Netflix or surfing Facebook while driving shouldn't be condoned, but are people going to be punished for linking their vehicle up to systems CarPlay or Android Auto? The government has also been doing whatever it can to reduce the rising number of road deaths, and recently reduced speed limits on two-lane roads from 90km/h to 80 km/h (55 miles per hour to 50 mph).