The fine for talking on the phone without a hands-free device while driving will go from 5,000 ISK to 40,000 ISK, effective May 1.
The Icelandic government’s official website announced that Minister of Transportation Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson signed a new regulation on phone driving yesterday, responding to a well-known problem in Iceland.
The new regulation points out that the fine for phone driving has not increased in about a decade. Part of the reasoning for increasing the fine, the announcement states, is to respond to the growing number of incidences of phone driving.
Some 64% of Icelanders admitted to phone driving in 2014, and has been in a slight decline since. For all other forms of using a phone while driving – whether talking hands-free, texting, or browsing online – self-reported incidences increased. At the same time, there was virtually no change between 2014 and today in the percentage of Icelanders who say they have not used their phones in any of these ways while driving, at 21%.
The news should come as little surprise to those who’ve been following this story over the years. As reported, fines are ridiculously low for the offense, and while the practice can be found across demographics, to greatest perpetrators are middle-aged high-income men.
In case you needed reminding, texting, browsing or talking on your phone without a hands-free device is very dangerous. Whatever call, text, or Like on Facebook needs to be made can wait until you stop the vehicle.