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ET guide to traffic laws (2): Using your phone while driving

Fri, Sep. 1, 2017
Statistics from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) show that over 40 percent of fatalities occur in vehicles, while 20 percent of those dying on the roads are vulnerable road users: pedestrians and motorcyclists. This fact highlights the need for more pressure on enforcing traffic laws, one of which is the prohibition of using mobile phones while driving.

Both the old and the newly proposed traffic laws in Egypt state that it is illegal to use mobile phones while driving, unless you are using a hands-free kit.

Fatma Law 2-01

Can a phone call endanger my life?

The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that using mobile phones while driving increases the risk of road traffic crashes by FOUR TIMES.

Having both hands on the wheel remains a valid argument for keeping the phone away; however, WHO has also noted that using hands-free sets are not much safer than handheld phones.

It has been proven that using mobile phones “slows reaction times,” including braking reaction time, reaction to traffic signals and staying in the correct lane, which could very well be the few seconds difference between safety and tragedy.

Handset and driving laws around the world

More than 30 countries around the world have made it illegal to use a handheld device while driving. Other countries, such as Portugal, have also included hands-free devices.

In 2017, the UK increased penalties on using a handheld device to approximately $244 and a deduction of six points on the driver's license.

In Oman, drivers caught using a handheld device can face up to 10 days in jail and a maximum fine of $780.

There are ongoing discussions in some countries to ban other installed systems in cars like GPS, applications that enable voice calls and online music services; however, some argue that using a mobile phone’s GPS is much safer than the alternative of using paper maps while driving.

Egypt’s newly proposed traffic law proposes deducing two points out of the 30-point system as a penalty and a fine ranging from LE 50-100.

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