If recent distracted driving laws passed around the world show anything, it’s that governments are finally starting to take the issue seriously. Many states in the U.S. are passing new laws to combat this growing public health crisis, but by far the strictest laws are being passed in France. The French government just voted on a new set of laws which virtually forbid all phone use while in the driver’s seat. Are these necessary protections or are lawmakers out of touch with your seriously sweet no-look driving skills?
France already raised the bar earlier this year when lawmakers voted to suspend the licenses of drivers caught using their phones while driving. Now, courts in France have ruled that it’s illegal to use one’s phone unless one’s vehicle is parked in a designated parking area like a car park or driveway. According to French news site The Local, the law was inspired by a driver who was caught parking in a roundabout with his hazard lights on in order to use his phone. There are still some hands-free functions allowed, but for the most part the new laws means drivers can’t touch their phones at all while they operate their deadly pieces of machinery. Road deaths have been on the rise in France for the last five years, and French lawmakers are hopeful these new laws can help stop that trend.
The advent of ubiquitous smartphones has been great in a lot of ways, but pretty dystopian in others. Sure, it’s great to be able to play Travel Frog while waiting in line at the post office, but all of that convenience, entertainment, and distraction in the palms of our sweaty little hands has caused a startlingly high number of auto fatalities due to distracted drivers. Writing about all of these new distracted laws each week really makes you aware when driving of just how many drivers are barreling down the road with eyes and hands glued to their silly little touchscreens. Just put the phone down. Seriously, put it down. It can wait. As can death.