Using your phone while driving is a big no-no in a lot of countries, but France has decided to take it a step further with a new ruling. According to Le Figaro, it is now illegal for drivers to use their phones while they’re in the car, no matter if the engine is running or not (except in certain situations).

It doesn’t matter if you’ve pulled over to the side of the road or stopped at a red light, a fine of up to 135 euros (RM653) and three demerit points await drivers who fail to follow the new ruling – the same punishment applied to those caught fiddling with their phones while driving.

There are a few exceptions to the ruling, with Bluetooth (or any other hands-free method) being accepted for accepting or making calls. Also, drivers who pull into designated parking spots and use their phones will not be punished. Should there be an emergency or vehicle breakdown on the side of the road, drivers will also be allowed to use their phones to call for assistance.

While the ruling might appear a little extreme, there is some logic behind it. Even though pulling over to use your phone is definitely safer than using it while driving, there is still a need to find a proper and safe space to pull over, even if traffic isn’t blocked. For instance, narrow roads, or a spot that may limit your visibility to other drivers, is still risky just so you can use your phone.

Closer to home, it was previously reported that the Road Transport Department (JPJ) would catch those using their phones while driving via cameras, and a fine of RM300 will be given to them. Do you think France’s new ruling be emulated here?