The use of cars should be prohibited

Mobile phone at the wheel - what is allowed? What not?

It is forbidden, it is life-threatening - and it is commonplace: making calls with the cell phone to the ear while driving. Since 2017, the legislature has taken even tougher action against violations. The change in the law does not only include higher fines. The ban has been significantly expanded. All details.

  • Cell phone sinners face substantial fines abroad, too

  • A permanently installed touch display is also subject to the ban on cell phones

  • Overview of case law on the subject of cell phone infringement

Since the 2017 amendment to the Road Traffic Regulations, it has become even clearer: Not only talking on the phone with a cell phone to the ear is prohibited. All the others Functions of cell phones or car phones you are not allowed to use it as a driver. So e.g. none Text messaging write or read, Calls refuse or just look at the display after the Time watch.

Since then, this has been true for all electronic devices used for communication, information or organization. This primarily refers to tablets, e-books, navigation devices, dictation machines or iPods.

You may only use smartphones, tablets, etc. while driving if you are not holding them in your hand but are in one bracket are located.
But even then, caution is required: You may only look briefly at the device and away from the traffic situation and only as far as the road, traffic, visibility and weather conditions permit.

When your motor vehicle is stationary and you have the Have switched off the engine completely, but then you are allowed to use cell phones etc. take in hand and use.

Incidentally, the ban also applies to cyclists.

Fines for violating the mobile phone ban

Which electronic devices does the ban include?

All smartphones, but also all other cell phones, car phones, tablet computers, touch screens, electronic diaries, e-book readers, MP3 players, personal computers, DVD and Blue-Ray players, smartwatches, notebooks, laptops, dictation machines, Navigation devices, televisions, iPods and playback devices with video function and video glasses (virtual reality glasses or Google Glass glasses). The list of devices in the law is not exhaustive and is only intended to clarify what is meant by electronic devices that are used for communication, information and organization.

Can you continue to use the electronic parking aid or the maneuvering assistant if you need to look at it for a long time?

Yes, as long as this is done at walking pace. In these cases, a screen or head-up display can also be observed for a longer period of time.

Can I read an SMS or do research on the Internet?

No. Since this is not possible with a "brief" look, reading short messages or using other multimedia offers (e.g. Internet, television) is prohibited.

How long is a "short" glance?

The legislature does not provide any information on this. Therefore, in the long term, courts must determine this on a case-by-case basis.

What if the engine is switched off?

Then you can use and record electronic devices without restriction.
However, this does not apply if the engine is only switched off using the start-stop function.

Overview of case law on the ban on mobile phones

  • Does the cell phone still work?
    Even if you only press a function key to check whether the mobile phone is still working after it has been dropped, this is a use within the meaning of Paragraph 23, Paragraph 1a of the StVO (KG Berlin dated May 14, 2019).

  • Cool cell phone
    Anyone who holds a hot cell phone in front of the cooler in the car is breaking the ban, even if he is using a hands-free system, especially because he does not have both hands free for driving (KG Berlin from February 13, 2019)

  • Laptop on lap
    Anyone who puts a laptop on their lap at a traffic light and then "briefly continues typing" when driving off disregards the ban, because that is more than a brief averting of the traffic situation (Cologne Higher Regional Court of 14.2.2019).

  • Cell phone on the dashboard and videophone
    Even if you put your cell phone on the dashboard and use the video calling function, it is forbidden, because you look away from the traffic for longer than briefly (AG Magdeburg, August 20, 2018).

  • Merely taking it in hand is not forbidden
    In the meantime, the higher regional courts have also agreed that it is not yet forbidden to pick up a cell phone as long as it is not used somehow (OLG Oldenburg from April 17, 2019). So it is not forbidden to move the cell phone, e.g. to put something away.

Cell phone violation abroad

All European countries agree that using the phone while driving poses a considerable risk of accidents. disagreement but prevails in the punishment of cell phone sinners and the Amount of fines. The ADAC lawyers have therefore put together an overview of the fines that apply in the European holiday countries.


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