French Government Cracks Down On Distracted Driving With New Mobile Phone Proposal
In an effort to reduce traffic fatalities, French authorities want to impose harsher penalties on motorists using mobile devices while driving. Lawmakers believe these new restrictions will deter people from the deadly habit of distracted driving.
This proposed law would allow French police to suspend motorists' licenses for three months if they were seen using a mobile phone while behind the wheel. Drivers would only be subject to this three-month penalty if they were in an area near many pedestrians. Some of these locations include near schools, shopping centers, and by pedestrian crosswalks.
France already has a ban on using mobile phones and hands-free devices while driving. Any motorist caught using a cell phone has to pay €135 and gets three penalty points on their record.
Estimates from road safety groups suggest that mobile phones were the main cause behind 10 percent of all traffic accidents. In 2015 alone, over 300,000 French drivers were fined for using their cell phones.
In one survey of French driving habits, a staggering nine out of ten motorists said they used a mobile device at least once while driving. In another survey, 75 percent of French respondents said they don't seriously pay attention to the speed limits. There are approximately 51 million cellphone users in France today.
France has one of the worst records for traffic fatalities in the European Union. Over 3,400 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2016. Analysts say the death toll from traffic-related accidents has only gone up in France since 2014.
In addition to the new mobile phone regulations, lawmakers are have proposed reducing the speed limit on many countryside roads from 90km/h to 80km/h. Despite harsh criticism from locals, France's Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is extremely supportive of this proposal.
If everything goes according to plan, both of these new proposals will be considered by the French legislature on July 1st, 2018.
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