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Cell phone at the wheel - the verdicts: Courts know no mercy

Cell phone at the wheel - the judgments
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' There is a new one almost every month Decision to ban cell phones, 'says Volker Lempp from Auto Club Europa (ACE) in Stuttgart. This is no wonder, because according to a survey, Germans see telephoning at the wheel with ease: A study by Dekra in Stuttgart showed that 22 percent of drivers make calls without a hands-free system. Not only is it forbidden to use the phone, but simply any use of a mobile phone without a hands-free system.

As soon as you touch the mobile phone, it is over

The Higher Regional Court (OLG) Hamm decided that reading the time from the display was just as illegal as reading it an SMS or a telephone number in the display (Ref .: 2 Ss OWi 177/05; 2 Ss OWi 1005/02; 2 Ss OWi 402/06). The Jena Higher Regional Court ruled accordingly with regard to the use of the cell phone as a dictation machine (Ref .: 1 Ss OWi 82/06). 'As soon as you touch the cell phone, it's over,' says Jörg Elsner, chairman of the traffic law working group in the German Bar Association in Berlin.

The law says 'hold it in your hand'. But simply moving the device from the storage compartment to the center console remains unpunished, decided the Cologne Higher Regional Court (Az .: 83 Ss OWi 19/05). And if the cell phone falls into the footwell while driving, you can pick it up again without risking a point, according to the OLG Bamberg (Ref .: 3 Ss OWi 452/07). 'However, all operating functions are covered by the ban,' says Lempp. According to the Cologne Higher Regional Court, this applies even to the integrated navigation system (Az .: 81 Ss-OWi 49/08). 'Different only if the cell phone is in a holder and does not need to be touched,' explains Maximilian Maurer from ADAC in Munich.

It is irrelevant whether it is a classic cell phone, a palm organizer or a Car phone acts. 'If the device has the function that you can make calls, the wording of the law is fulfilled,' explains Lempp. Probably the only exception is the cordless telephone of the landline system. Since this is not a 'mobile phone', the mobile phone ban does not include it according to the Cologne Higher Regional Court
(Ref .: 82 Ss OWi 93/09).

According to the Bamberg Higher Regional Court, the driving instructor is also not allowed to make calls. Even if he is sitting in the passenger seat, he is still the driver of the vehicle (Ref .: 2 Ss Owi 127/2009). Otherwise, according to Elsner: As soon as the engine is running, 'stay away from your cell phone'. Because even when the car is stationary, e.g. at a red light,you risk a fine. According to the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court, anyone who stops on the hard shoulder to make a phone call even earns a higher fine than just 40 euros (Ref .: IV-2 Ss OWi 84/04) - the ruling states as a justification: 'The hard shoulder is only for him In case of a breakdown thought. '

Hardly exceptions allowed

In the green area on the other hand, those who quickly switch off the engine at a red light, make a phone call and end the conversation before starting the car again (Ref .: 2 Ss OWi 190/07). This is how the OLG Hamm decided. According to the OLG Hamm, those who only use the cell phone to warm their inflamed ear with the battery also theoretically remain unpunished. However, the court did not believe this excuse, and the person caught had to pay (Ref .: 2 Ss OWi 606/07). The same happened to a man who stated in front of the Higher Regional Court in Karlsruhe that he had only trimmed his whiskers with his cordless razor (Ref .: 2 Ss OWi 528/06).

In case of doubt, the judge always believes the police, says Elsner. 'An objection to the fine is not worthwhile.' But he is not completely hopeless. The OLG Karlsruhe lifted the fine against a woman because the information provided by the police officer was 'too vague' (Ref .: 1 Ss 135/08). According to Lempp, an objection should only be risked by 'those who have legal protection insurance'.

W repetitive offenders are threatened with the idiot test

' In the event of repeated violations it can even happen that your fitness to drive is questioned and you have to take the idiot test, 'warns the ACE expert. This is also the verdict of the Jena Higher Regional Court (Az .: 1 Ss 54/06). If there is an accident, it can get really expensive. 'The use of the cell phone can be interpreted as gross negligence,' explains Elsner. According to Maurer, damage could then not be reimbursed. The district court (LG) Kiel ruled on 20 percent contributory negligence in an accident through no fault of one's own (Az .: 7 S 100/04).


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