Hand holding smartphone at the wheel

Mobile phone ban at the wheel

What you need to know as a novice driver.

Why is it forbidden to drive with a mobile phone to your ear? Quite simply because it is very dangerous and you endanger not only yourself but also your passengers and the road users around you. 

If you remember the calculations of stopping distance, reaction distance and braking distance, it becomes clear that the one second you are not looking at the traffic but at your mobile phone can be the difference between life and death. 

The ban on mobile phones at the wheel therefore only serves the road safety of everyone involved. In this blog article, you will find out what penalties and fines you can expect if you are caught driving with a mobile phone as a novice driver during your probationary period.

In addition, we tell you which devices you still need to be careful with and what you need to bear in mind if you want to use your mobile phone as a navigation device. 

Mobile phone at the wheel: This is forbidden

  • Picking up the mobile phone or holding it in your hand 
  • Making a phone call without a hands-free kit. Even declining a call is not allowed.
  • Reading and answering messages: do not answer text messages, do internet research or look at the mobile phone clock
  • Putting the mobile phone between your shoulder and ear to make a call
  • After dropping the mobile phone, check if it is still working.
  • Put the mobile phone on the dashboard for video calls.
  • Stand on the hard shoulder, turn off the engine to operate the mobile phone.
  • Use your phone as a sat nav if it is not in a cradle.
  • Operate the mobile phone at a traffic light, when the automatic start-stop system has switched off the engine. The engine must be switched off completely.
Using the mobile phone at the wheel while driving is an absolute taboo.

Better safe than sorry

Eyes on the road and don't get distracted

No matter what the fines are in individual situations, you should keep the following in mind: Anything that distracts your attention from the traffic should be avoided.

This is especially true if you are a novice driver who is still on probation and risks a higher penalty or fine. In the worst case, the second you look at your mobile phone can mean the difference between life and death. You should never take that risk. 

Mobile phone in the car: This is allowed

  • Messages may only be sent if you send them via a voice assistant. You are not allowed to read new messages. Unless the voice assistant reads them to you while you continue to watch the traffic. 
  • The mobile phone must only be operated when it is in a cradle and you only take a quick look at it.
  • A quick glance is only permitted as long as road, traffic, visibility and weather conditions allow it.
  • In general: If certain mobile phone functions are operated via voice control (e.g. Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa) and your attention is not distracted, you can use your mobile phone. 
  • Picking it up is only permitted if it is switched off and placed in another location.
  • You can use your mobile phone as a navigation device if it is in a cradle and is operated via voice control.
  • It may be used without restriction when the vehicle is at a standstill and the engine is completely switched off. 

Caught with a mobile phone in the car

You have to expect these consequences

Even if it is dangerous, "driving with a mobile phone" is considered a B offence. This means that, according to the schedule of fines, you can expect a fine of €100 and a point in Flensburg.

However, if someone was endangered or an accident was caused, you can expect a fine of €150 or €200, two points in Flensburg and a one-month driving ban.

Special case: probationary period

As a novice driver, you face tougher penalties.

During the probationary period, even less serious offences are punished more severely, so the consequences of an offence during the probationary period are also more serious if you are caught driving with a mobile phone to your ear or in your hand. When you get caught during this offence without endangering others, you will be fined €100, receive a penalty point, have your probationary period extended from two to four years and have to attend an additional training seminar.

Due to the probationary period, this offence is considered an A offence. This is a serious offence, equivalent to driving drunk and disobeying the law.

An offence during the probationary period 
In the probationary period, an A offence, or serious offence, means an extension of the probationary period from two to four years. It also entails attendance at an additional training seminar.

If a serious offence (A offence) is committed a second time, a warning is issued and traffic psychology counselling is recommended.

If this is followed by a third A offence, the driving licence is revoked.

Using the phone whilst driving abroad

There are fines all over Europe

Even in other European countries, you should not drive with your mobile phone in your hand. Although individual countries have different levels of fines, they all agree. Mobile phones at the wheel are dangerous and therefore forbidden. Here are some examples from the schedule of fines of what a fine costs in other countries:

  • Denmark: 200€
  • Belgium: from 115€
  • France: from 135€
  • Italy: from 165€
  • Netherlands: 250€
  • Austria: from 50€
  • Spain: from 200€
  • Croatia: 135€
  • Czech Republic: from 40€
  • Poland: from 45€
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