France’s highest court has ruled that drivers can no longer simply pull over to use their phones. Instead, they will have to park in a designated area, such as a garage or a private driveway, and turn off the vehicle’s engine, according to Gizmodo.
The ruling came after a 2017 appeal where a driver protested a fine he received for using a phone while he was parked at a roundabout with hazard lights on. Under the new law, those who text in non-approved areas while in a vehicle will receive a fine of 135 euros ($166) and will receive three points on their driving license that will stay for three years. This is the same punishment currently given to those who use their phone while driving. The law does not apply to hands-free devices (but does restrict wireless headsets), and it makes exceptions for emergency calls, like being stranded on the side of the road.
The French government has been taking an active stance on measures to prevent road deaths. For example, last month, it considered taking away driving permits from motorists if they were caught using mobile phones while at the wheel. According to a study done last year by France’s road safety organization Sécurité Routière, about 10 percent of the country’s road accidents are caused at least in part by telephone use.
Here in the US, several smartphone manufacturers are being asked by federal auto safety regulators to consider blocking certain apps and functions with a “driving mode” and even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration scolded people on Twitter who can’t help themselves from texting and driving.