Extension of the cell phone ban to almost all electronic devices § 23 Ia StVO

Update 10/19/2017:

Through the publication in the Federal Law Gazette on 18.10.2017, the extension of the cell phone ban to almost all electronic devices, among other things, has now come into force in the form most recently discussed. Such devices may thus – apart from the increase in fines usually only communicated in the press – neither be picked up nor held while driving a vehicle. And even if the devices are not picked up and held, meaning possibly even if they are permanently installed in the vehicle, the law only allows their use as part of a voice control or read aloud function – or, if “to operate and use the device only a short, the road, Focus of attention adapted to traffic, visibility and weather conditions to the device with simultaneous corresponding averting of gaze is made or required by the traffic pattern”.

You may now ask – what is “short”? Unfortunately, no one can answer that for you at the moment. So is switching the radio station still “short”? Or a look at the on-board computer? Or the operation of the hands-free system including a view of the multimedia unit display? This is left solely to the discretion of the courts. In any case, we are already looking forward to entertaining negotiations.

Update as of 07/17/2017:

New formulation, same problems:

1a) Whoever drives a vehicle may use an electronic device that serves or is intended to serve communication, information or organization may only be used if
1. for this purpose, the device is neither picked up nor held, and
2. Either
a) only a voice control and read aloud function is used or
b) for the operation and use of the device only a short, the road ,
traffic, visibility and weather conditions, and at the same time averting
to the device and at the same time averting one’s gaze from the from the traffic situation is made or required.

Devices within the meaning of sentence 1 also include consumer electronics devices or devices for for location determination, in particular mobile telephones or car telephones, touch screens, portable flat computers, navigation devices, televisions or playback devices with Video function or audio recorder. If the device within the meaning of sentence 1, also in connection with sentence 2, to a visual output device worn on the head, especially video glasses, this must not be used. Does the device have within the meaning of sentence 1, also in conjunction with sentence 2, via a field of view projection, this may be used for vehicle-related, traffic sign-related, journey-related or journey-accompanying Information used. Paragraph 1c and § 1b of the Road Traffic Actremain unaffected.

(1b) Paragraph 1a sentences 1 to 3 shall not apply to

1. a stationary vehicle, in the case of a motor vehicle, subject to Number 3, only if the engine is completely switched off,
2. the intended operation of a breathalyzer-controlled immobilizer, as far as a hand part intended for operation has to be picked up and held must be held,
3. standing scheduled buses at stops (sign 224).

The automatic shutdown of the engine on the vehicle in combustion mode or the idling of the the resting of the electric drive is not a switch-off of the engine in this sense.

Paragraph 1a sentence 1 number 2 letter b does not apply to

1. the use of a screen or field-of-view projection to manage the driving task of reversing or parking, provided that the vehicle is moved is moved only at walking speed, or 2. the use of electronic devices that replace or supplement prescribed mirrors.supplement.

Original article from 05.07.2017:

Almost unnoticed by the public, an amendment to the law was initiated by the Federal Ministry of Transport under the leadership of Federal Transport Minister Dobrindt, which will probably pass the Bundesrat on Friday, 07.07.2017.

The previous regulation is as follows:

[box] (1a) A person driving a vehicle shall not use a mobile or car telephone if the mobile or car telephone handset must be picked up or held to do so. This does not apply when the vehicle is stationary and, in the case of motor vehicles, the engine is switched off.[/box]

This regulation is now to be extended to almost all electronic devices:

[box] (1a) A person who drives a vehicle may use an electronic device used or intended to be used for communication, information, or organization only if, for this purpose

  1. the device is not picked up and not held and
  2. either
      a) only a voice control and read aloud function is used or
      b) for the operation and use of the device only a short gaze to the device with simultaneous averting of the gaze from the traffic is made or required, which does not exceed a period of one second.
    Devices within the meaning of sentence 1 also include consumer electronics devices or devices for determining location, in particular mobile telephones or car telephones, touch screens, portable flat computers, navigation devices, televisions or playback devices with video function or audio recorders. If the device as defined in sentence 1, also in conjunction with sentence 2, is a visual output device worn on the head, in particular video glasses, it may not be used. If the device as defined in sentence 1, also in conjunction with sentence 2, has a field of view projection, this may be used for vehicle-related, traffic sign-related, driving-related or driving-accompanying information. Paragraph 1c and § 1b of the Road Traffic Act remain unaffected.
    (1b) Paragraph 1a sentences 1 to 3 shall not apply to
    1. a stationary vehicle, in the case of a motor vehicle, subject to number 3, only if the engine is completely switched off,
    2. the intended operation of a breathalyzer-controlled immobilizer, to the extent that a handpiece intended for operation must be picked up and held,
    3. standing scheduled buses at stops (sign 224).
    The automatic shutdown of the engine on the vehicle in combustion mode or the idling of the electric drive is not a shutdown of the engine in this sense. Paragraph 1a sentence 1 number 2 letter b does not apply to
    1. the use of a screen or field-of-view projection to accomplish the driving task of reversing or parking, provided the vehicle is moved only at walking speed; or
    2. the use of electronic devices that replace or supplement prescribed mirrors. [/box]
    What strikes you at first glance is that it gets complicated. The background of the Minister of Transport is probably to take away possible “excuses” from the driver and difficulties of proof from the courts by subjecting all electronic devices to the ban as soon as they are even picked up for use, in contrast to the now prevailing case-by-case examination of whether a cell phone has been used or not.
    As desirable as it is to ensure the safety of road traffic, the legislator is unnecessarily interfering here with the general freedom of action of each individual by means of a confusing legal text. For example, the ban also covers the radio remote control for the garage door. To be in compliance with the law, you would have to switch off the vehicle manually, then reach for the remote control and use it, then put it down and start the vehicle again and drive into the garage.
    In addition, it should be noted that the vehicle must be switched off manually – automatic switching off by a start-stop device is explicitly no longer covered by “engine switched off”. To take the above example further, if the vehicle switched off automatically when stopped in front of the garage, you would first have to switch it back on manually and then switch it off manually again, open the garage and then switch it back on manually.
    1. Mind you, the use of (even permanently installed) navigation devices is also explicitly covered by the ban, but other technical devices such as the car radio, and even the on-board computer, are also likely to be covered by the blanket ban. This is where the “vague” restriction becomes relevant, according to which use is permitted if “for the operation and use of the device, only a brief gaze towards the device is made or required with simultaneous averting of gaze from traffic events, which does not exceed a period of one second”. The only question is who should “measure” this second. Ultimately, however, there is overregulation here. It is simply not possible to fine every undesirable behavior, but it is the responsibility of each individual driver to ensure the safety of road traffic. Strictly speaking, you’re “allowed” to eat, solve Rubik’s cubes, turn around and talk at length with the passengers in the backseat – even read the newspaper (as long as it’s in paper form and not as an e-paper) – when you’re driving, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do such things, if only for the sake of common sense. However, the same can then be applied in exactly the same way to the use of electronic devices – a complicating prohibition standard that also overshoots the mark by far would therefore not have been necessary.



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