Let’s admit it: many of us can’t even look away from browsing memes on Reddit long enough to concentrate on the two tons of steel and glass we’re piloting down the highways at more than fatal speeds. For that reason, many law enforcement agencies and governments around the world are enacting laws to combat distracted driving. One country, France, has just enacted some of the strictest laws yet. Under the new law, drivers caught using their mobile phones while driving can have their licenses suspended. Is this just punishment for a deadly distraction, or has the French government gone too far?
According to French news outlet The Local, road mortality in France has been increasing since 2014. The French government believes this is largely due to mobile phone use, and is taking measures to curb these needless deaths. Under a new law set to be voted upon next week, French drivers could face a suspension of up to three months if they are caught using their phones while behind the wheel. The suspension will only be imposed if drivers are witnessed using their phones in a potentially dangerous situation such as while approaching an intersection or school zone.
According to French road safety organization Sécurité Routière, some 300,000 drivers were fined in 2015 for using their phones while driving, and a recent survey found that 9 out of 10 French drivers admit using their phones behind the wheel. Is this new law enough to curb the growing distracted driving problem?
It’s kind of surreal thinking about how we’ve reached a point in human history in which entertainment and distraction are so ubiquitous that we have to actively try to keep our attention on the life-threatening daily activity of driving. Are distracted driving deaths merely natural selection at work? You might feel invincible behind the wheel if you’ve never been in an accident, but that carelessness will likely come back to bite you. Put down your phone. r/dankmemes can wait.