When the legislator “lags behind” the technology

The technology comes to the aid of the law

We know that using a mobile phone while driving is dangerous, and increases the chance of a car accident tenfold. The punishment is also one of the severe ones set by the Israeli legislator – 1000 NIS and 8 points. And yet the number of road accidents caused by the use of mobile devices increases yearly and teaches that we have not internalized the message. Some relate this to the ambiguous wording of the law. The law should be very clear and guide us on what is allowed and what is not allowed while driving. In reality – it fails to do so.

In the next article, we will try to understand the reasons for that, and how technology can be handy where the law “lags behind”.

A short lesson in history

The traffic regulations in Israel define, among other things, the rules of behavior on the roads for both drivers and pedestrians. These regulations were laid down sometime in 1961, long before the mobile phone (or the home phone for that matter) a time when scooters were considered innocent children’s play and not a common electric vehicle the legislator should address as well. This means that in the traffic regulations there is no dedicated section for regulating the use of mobile phone while driving – a scenario extremely futuristic in 1961. In response to this problem, in 1994, Section 28 of the Traffic Regulations was added, which reads as follows: The driver must hold the steering wheel or handlebars in his hands as long as the vehicle is in motion, and therefore – a driver caught holding a mobile phone, is breaking the law and risking a fine and points.

Almost 30 years have passed since, and section 28 is still in force. It was expanded to respond to the many circumstances and developments that we have known over the years. In some cases, the legislator was able to obtain the technology and include it in the law, but in some, not to say in most cases, it is the technology that obtains the legislator and leaves a lot of room for interpretation.

So what does section 28 state as of today?

Section 28 establishes the obligation to hold the steering wheel or handlebars with both hands when the vehicle is in motion; The driver is allowed to lower one hand only to ensure the proper operation of the vehicle or to comply with traffic rules; It is mandatory to use the speakerphone and make sure that the mobile phone is placed in a stable manner. It is not allowed to read or send SMS messages, nor to operate the screen unless it is necessary for navigation.

seemingly, the law is clear. But countless cases in the traffic courts prove otherwise.

Where is the problem?

The main problem is in the definition of the act of driving: what did the legislator mean by “In Motion”? Does it mean- whenever the car is actually moving?  In this case, stopping at a red light is not “In motion”. Or it means the “driving course”, which also applies to standing at a red light or traffic jam. There is no right answer this issue is subject to controversy and interpretation by the police and the courts. The result is that the enforcement authorities, as a clear policy, currently refrain from handing out reports to drivers who used a mobile phone during red lights or in traffic jams, and in general they seem to think twice before stopping a driver suspected of using a mobile phone illegally. Some drivers take advantage of the situation and dismiss the ticket they receive.

Until the legislator clarifies his intention, and the enforcement authorities will act in force accordingly, it seems that the only to fight this is to prevent the distraction completely! Not through prohibitions and deterrence, but by neutralizing the possibility through technological means – to harness technology for the benefit of our safety.

This is exactly what SaverOne’s app does very cleverly. The idea is simple – to disable the use of distracting apps and at the same time allow the use of other apps that help driving, such as various navigation apps. How does It work? SaverOne’s system detects the driver’s mobile phone, connects to it only for the duration of the drive, and neutralizes the distractive apps. As soon as the car comes to a complete stop, the system automatically recognizes it and allows the use of all apps again. Simple and easy.

SaverOne’s system has proven to be the most effective solution in neutralizing mobile phone distractions, today it is installed on more and more car fleets, trucks, and buses in Israel, and the day when the system will be available to the privet sector is not far.  Hopefully, then the roads will be safer, with fewer disruptions and we won’t have to deal with unclear laws and unnecessary traffic accidents.