Will texting whilst driving become a criminal offence in the Netherlands?
The answer is yes, texting whilst driving may very well become a criminal offence in the Netherlands. The majority of the Dutch House of Representatives is for a change to the law, which would class texting behind the wheel as reckless driving.
Zigzagging on the road
The minister of Infrastructure and Water Management has expressed concern about the use of mobile phones on the road, stating that every day, cyclists and motorists can be seen swerving about. She also communicated that the goal is clear, the number of road casualty victims must be reduced.
In order to set a good example for others, she is going to have the State Secretary’s official vehicle, as well as her own, modified so that the chauffeurs cannot use their phones whilst driving.
At this moment in time, texting whilst driving is not allowed; however, this is not explicitly stated in the law and consequently, doing so usually carries a fine.
Recently, a woman from Texel hit a 21-year-old cyclist, who later passed away. The Public Prosecution Service called for a six-month prison sentence, as the woman in question had allegedly been sending text messages at the time of the accident. However, only 120 hours of community service were awarded due to insufficient evidence regarding the allegation.
The Dutch government wants to amend the law and class texting behind the wheel as an offence as severe as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Such an offence would thus carry a heavier penalty. For instance, you could have your driver’s license revoked or be sentenced to a period of time in prison.