Is it allowed to use the phone in a parked car?

Many motorists think that it is allowed to use the phone while standing. However, there are circumstances in which this is prohibited. Argus returns to risky situations with regard to the Highway Code.

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Even when standing, it is possible to verbalize “phone while driving.”

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Article R.412-6-1 of the Traffic Code penalizes the use of a telephone in the hand by the driver of a vehicle in circulation with a fine of 4th class (fixed fine of € 135) and a 3-point withdrawal from the driving license. An important penalty for an infraction that can be detected even with the vehicle stopped. In which cases is it verbalizable? What are the conditions for being able to use the landline phone in compliance with the law?

Not being in a traffic situation

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At traffic jams or at a red light, you are considered “in traffic”.

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According to article R.412-6 of the Highway Code, all drivers must be constantly in a position to perform all necessary maneuvers comfortably and without delay. This general text only applies to the driver in traffic. To be able to use your smartphone, whether it’s for calling, texting, emailing, or even using an app, the driver doesn’t have to be in a traffic situation. However, there are many cases of traffic, even a stopped vehicle. A vehicle stopped in traffic jams, at a red traffic light or even on the side of a road is considered to be in circulation. It is therefore forbidden to use the phone in your hands under these conditions. To escape repression, the vehicle must be stopped, the engine switched off and parked in a place where parking is authorized. This is the case with a public or private parking space, a garage or even a parking space on a public road.

Force majeure and drive payment

Apart from these cases, the use of the telephone by the driver of a vehicle is not legal except in cases of force majeure. Force majeure is defined as an irresistible, unpredictable event external to the driver. Thus, it is still possible to use the mobile phone while driving, with the vehicle parked, outside the usual parking lot, if this immobilization is the result of an imponderable such as an accidental breakdown for example.

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Phone in the hand of the car

Contactless payment on the drive or tolls can be billed.

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The Highway Code applies to public roads but also to private roads and car parks open to public traffic. Result: The growing practice of paying for meals or groceries in the car with your mobile phone is likely to be a problem. Indeed, the car parks of supermarkets and fast food establishments are accessible to the public and are therefore subject to the Highway Code. Stopping and using your smartphone to pay for the vehicle window is not, in principle, an exception to the rule. Then the car is not parked and obviously this is not an emergency situation that could characterize a case of force majeure.

If it is difficult to see a gendarme or a police officer committing the crime for this type of conduct, the strict application of the Highway Code would allow it, however. In the event of a sanction, the police court called to rule on the motorist’s conflict could assess the situation rigorously or, on the contrary, show a certain tolerance in the face of the particular circumstances of the offense.


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