The Supreme Court in Israel clarifies: it is prohibited to hold a phone while driving even without using it


In a court ruling dated April 2018, the Supreme Court in Israel clarified that holding a mobile phone while driving, even without using it, is a violation and therefore prohibited.

The Court was required to make this ruling following a request for the right to appeal against a ruling made by a Regional Court (Jerusalem) which rejected a driver's appeal against the ruling of the Transportation Court. The driver received a ticket from police officers who noticed him holding a mobile phone while his vehicle was moving. The driver claimed that although he was holding the phone it was not proven that he was using it, and in order to commit the violation cited in regulation 28(b) of the transportation regulations, both conditions must be fulfilled – holding and using.

The Supreme Court accepted the Regional Court’s conclusion, according to which holding a mobile phone while driving constitutes a violation of the regulations, and there is no need to prove what use was made of the phone while driving.

In the Court’s decision it was clarified that “the regulation wording is extremely clear and according to it, while the car is moving, the driver must not hold a telephone handset or mobile phone and must not use them. These are two separate and independent prohibitions, where the object of the prohibition (the phone) appears in both prohibited activities (holding and using)…there is a prohibition on holding a phone even without using it”.

The Court explained that the aim of both prohibitions is prevention of distraction from driving, both through holding the phone while driving and through actively using it. This is because there is no doubt that both holding and using a phone while driving significantly impair the driver’s ability to drive safely and thus endangers his environment, himself and other road users.