Smartphone use behind the wheel could lead to immediate jail time

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The Ministry of Security and Justice is planning harsher punishments for using your smartphone while driving. A legislative proposal is being prepared that will put smartphone usage behind the wheel under reckless driving. This could mean immediate jail time if you're caught, reports.

Using a smartphone while driving is already punishable, but offenders currently only face a fine of 230 euros. Safe traffic association VVN is pleading for harsher punishments. "Drivers who cause an accident by using their mobile phone, deserve the same punishment as people driving recklessly or drunk", a VVN spokesperson said to newspaper Trouw on Friday. "These are conscious choices that endanger others."

On Thursday, figures from incident management foundation IMN showed that accidents on Dutch highways increased by 27 percent over the past four years. The VVN estimates that a quarter of traffic accidents are caused by smartphone use while driving.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment is currently doing a number of studies into the impact on telephone distraction in traffic. The results are expected this autumn.