Investigate smartphone use after all traffic accidents: Dutch politicians

Dutch politicians want to intensify the fight against texting while driving. The VVD wants the police to always check a smartphone's history after a traffic accident, to see if it was being used during the accident, parliamentarian Remco Dijkstra said to the Telegraaf.

According to the VVD parliamentarian, the police can already check smartphones to see whether a driver had both hands on the wheel, but they rarely do so. The VVD also wants stricter punishments for smartphone use while driving. The party calls for the punishment for this to be the same as for drunk driving. 

The number of fatal car accidents caused by smartphone use increased over the past two years, according to RTL Nieuws. Last year 629 people died in traffic accidents while using their phones, eight more than the year before. 

A number of parties in the Tweede Kamer believe that it is time for politicians to intervene. The CDA and D66, for example, want a campaign that warns motorists about the risks involved in using cellphones while driving. "It is very dangerous", CDA parliamentarian Maurits von Martels said, according to the broadcaster. "But phone in hand has unfortunately become a familiar image in traffic."

D66 parliamentarian Matthijs Sienot thinks campaigns similar to drunk driving campaigns would be appropriate. "It is now socially unacceptable to drive a car when you are drunk, and that should also become the norm with texting. You simply don't do it."

The Tweede Kamer is debating about measures against smartphone use when driving on Tuesday, according to the Telegraaf.