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Holding phone behind the wheel enough to get fine, rules court
No, you can’t hold your mobile phone in your hand while driving, even if you aren’t staring at it. So spake a Brussels court this month in a case filed by a driver who had received a fine for using her phone behind the wheel.
It’s illegal in Belgium to use a mobile phone while driving, unless it is hands-free. A woman recently received a fine from the police because she had her phone in her hand.
“In the report, it stated only that she was holding her phone,” the woman’s lawyer told De Standaard. “It did not say that she was talking on the phone. I found that quite minimal information. Normally, the agent would report that the person was calling or texting. So I thought it was worth it to test the legality of the fine.”
But the court thought the fine was fine. The law states that a person may not “use” the phone while driving, and the judge said that the world “use” could be interpreted broadly.
“In the normal sense of the law, this means that ‘use’ is not limited to a well-defined action such as calling or texting,” read the court’s decision, “and that the driver’s handling of a mobile telephone while driving implies that the device is being used.”
And of course, common sense would dictate that it’s not that you’re not actively using the phone at that second that you are not going to or that you haven’t just.