Germany: Police catch 3,100 drivers on their cell phones in one day | News | DW | 20.09.2018
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Germany: Police catch 3,100 drivers on their cell phones in one day

German authorities consider texting while driving to be equivalent to driving while over twice the legal limit of alcohol consumption. Yet the fine is only €60.

German police held nationwide spot checks on Thursday, and found 3,100 drivers with cell phones in their hands in just a matter of hours. They also logged over 9,400 cases of distracted driving.

Some 11,000 officers stopped around 51,000 motorists in one day, including truck drivers and motorcyclists. Other causes of distracted driving that the officers found were lighting cigarettes, using navigational systems, and listening to loud music.

Germany currently does not register distracted driving as one of its formal causes of accidents, meaning there are no relevant domestic statistics. However, international studies have suggested that distracted driving is the cause of half of traffic accidents. Dozens of people are killed every year, although the exact amount of deaths may be far higher — there are many accidents where phone use is not documented or discovered.

Authorities in Germany have compared driving while texting or making a phone call to having twice the legal limit of alcohol in one's system.

Despite this, the consequence for using a phone while driving is a single point on the offender's license and a €60 fine — that's a penalty roughly equivalent to a moderately severe speeding infraction.

Police also warned that distracted cycling and walking — whilst looking down at one's smartphone — is also a major safety risk.

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