Appeal court tears up driver’s fine for using his phone in a holder

Mobile phone in car.

Photo: Dariusz Sankowski via Pixabay

It is not a criminal offence to use a mobile phone while driving if it is kept in a dashboard holder, appeal court judges in Leeuwarden said on Wednesday.

The case was brought by a motorist from the Frisian town of Sneek who was fined €239 last year for using his phone while driving. His phone was kept in a dashboard holder.

The court ruled that the law banning the use of mobile phones while driving ‘expressly opted to ban holding a telephone’.

If that ban needs to be extended to cover touching a phone, then the law itself needs to be changed, the judges said.

At the end of last year, a majority of MPs said they backed making it a criminal offence to send text messages from behind the wheel.

The government wants to class using a mobile phone screen at the wheel as ‘reckless behaviour’ equivalent to driving under the influence of drink and drugs. This could lead to a driving ban and prison sentences for the worst offenders.