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€174 fine for driving with cell phone in hand or lap
New rules regarding the use of mobile devices while driving entered into force on Thursday, including a €174 fine for driving with a cell phone in your hand or on your lap, rather than in a special holder.
Those who do not abide by the new rule risk the immediate fine plus administrative costs, De Standaard reports.
In the event of a summons, the judge can impose fines ranging from €240 to €4,000, and the loss of the right to drive is also an option.
“Every year, 30 people are killed and 2,500 injured because of using a smartphone behind the wheel. This has to stop,” said mobility minister Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo).
The new law stipulates: “Except when the vehicle is stationary or parked, the driver may not use, hold or manipulate any mobile electronic device with a screen, unless it is attached to the vehicle in a designated holder.”
Connecting your smartphone to the car’s media system via Bluetooth or a USB cable is still allowed, because the operation then takes place via the car's screen instead of the phone’s.
“As a driver you are no longer allowed to make phone calls while your smartphone is lying loose on your lap, on the centre console or on the passenger seat,” explained Werner De Dobbeleer of the Flemish Traffic Knowledge Foundation.
“The use of your smartphone for navigation or as a music player is also prohibited, unless the device is clipped into a holder.”