Anyone who takes his eyes from the road at 50 km/h for just two seconds, puts almost 30 meters behind himself blindfolded. At a speed of 130 km/h this are already 72 meters. The police union (GdP) has therefore demanded that legislature clearly defines when looking at the smartphone is allowed and when it needs to be taboo, last week on a traffic symposium about distraction in traffic last week.
“The existing ban on mobile phones behind the wheel is long passed by technological developments. Neither does it apply when a car has a modern start-stop system, nor when the driver is looking at a SmartWatch”, said the assistant GdP state chairman Michael Mertens at the opening of the Forum. “That’s why there is a statutory need for clarification.” The GdP also sees legislature responsible for clarification of the question, whether the police may rely on the mobile phone data to check whether writing a text message triggered the accident. “While it is positive that newly in NRW mobile phones can be confiscated by the police after serious traffic accidents, that is still not a sound legal basis for their evaluation.”
For prevention of growing numbers in traffic accidents by smartphone usage, the GdP also relies technical solutions. According to a study published in 2005 by the Federal Highway Research Institute, one in seven heavy truck accidents in Germany is caused by distraction. Since the end of last year therefore emergency braking and lane departure systems are mandatory for all new trucks and buses. “As we already discuss autonomously moving vehicles, the installation of emergency braking and lane systems passenger cars has ceased to be utopian. With more surveillance and appeals to the reason of drivers alone we will not solve the problem of collisions out of nowhere.” said Mertens.
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