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Norway trebles fine for using mobile phone at the wheel

Motorists who use mobile phones while driving will from January 2021 face fines of 5,000 kroner and three points on their license.

Norway trebles fine for using mobile phone at the wheel
Photo: Damir Kopezhanov on Unsplash

The government decided on Friday to significantly increase the punishment for using a mobile (without using hands free technology) while driving, VG reports.

“It must sting if you are caught using your mobile while driving your car,” transport minister Knut Arild Hareide told VG.

Under current rules, the offence can result in a fine of 1,700 and two driving licence points (prikker).

An accumulation of eight points within three years results in a six-month driving ban.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about driving in Norway

“There must be a deterrent effect, so people take this seriously,” Hareide said.

“We introduced the two points and 1,700-kroner fine and thought it would be significant, but we can see that the measure is less that we thought. That’s why we must show there are consequences for breaking the rules,” the minister continued.

The head of the National Mobile Police Service (Utrykningspolitiet, UP) backed the harsher punishment.

“We don’t think that 1,700 and two points has enough deterrent effect and positive that it has now been decided to increase this to 5,000 and more points from two to three,” the head of UP, Steven Hasseldal, told VG.

“When you are driving a car, you should be concentrating on that. We forget quite easily that one of the most dangerous things we do, both for ourselves and others, is to get in the car,” Hareide said.

The rules against mobile use also apply when waiting in traffic or at a red light, according to a supreme court ruling from this year.

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DRIVING

The punishments for Norway’s most common traffic offences 

Norway takes a strict approach to road safety, meaning that the punishments for even the most minor driving offences are pretty strict. 

The punishments for Norway's most common traffic offences 

Getting up to speed with Norway’s road traffic laws is always a good idea, whether you live here and drive all the time, or you have always dreamed of a road trip in the Scandinavian country. 

The country has a “zero vision” for road traffic safety. Several governments have aimed to reduce the number of road traffic deaths to zero. 

Given this approach, it’ll come as no surprise that the country, therefore, imposes hefty penalties on those caught breaking traffic laws. 

 Speeding

Speed limits in Norway range from 30 kilometres per hour (km/h) to 110 km/h. As a result, fines for exceeding the speed limit range from 1,150 kroner to 15,200 kroner. 

Generally, the punishment will depend on whether the speed limit is below 60 km/h or above 70 km/h. 

Driving five km/h over the speed limit when the limit is below 60 will result in a fine of 1,150 kroner. After that, fines will increase for every five km/h over the speed limit you are, jumping to 3,150 kroner, then to 5,650 kroner, 8,200 kroner and then finally 12,700 kroner when you are caught going more than 25 km/h above the speed limit. 

Those with a Norwegian licence will be given points on their licence when more than 10 km/h over the speed limit. 

Extreme speeding will likely result in a criminal conviction and the driver’s licence being revoked for three to 36 months. In cases where the police officer believes the driver will later be convicted of dangerous driving, they can revoke the licence on the spot. The same can happen to drivers with foreign licences. 

READ ALSO: Can driving offences prevent you from getting Norwegian citizenship?

Meanwhile, the punishment for speeding when the limit is 70 km/h and above follows a similar structure. Fines start at 1,150 kroner and progress for every 5 km/h the driver is over the limit up to 35 km/h over the limit – which will result in a fine of 15,200 kroner. 

However, one key difference is that you will not accumulate points until you are more than 15 km/h over the limit when the limit was more than 70 km/h. 

Drink driving 

Norway has a strict drink driving limit, those with a blood alcohol concentration higher than 0.2 per thousand (or 0.02 BAC) are considered to be under the influence of alcohol. 

Depending on factors such as weight, this typically equates to less than one drink. The penalties for drunk driving are derived from Norway’s Road Traffic Act

Those caught with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of below 0.05 will be fined. Those with a blood alcohol concentration of between 0.05 and 0.12 face fines and potentially conditional or unconditional imprisonment. Conditional imprisonment may come in the form of a suspended sentence. 

Those with a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.12 will more than likely be jailed and receive a fine. The fine for drunk driving is 1.5 times the offender’s monthly income.

In addition to the hefty fines and potential prison time, those who have a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.5 per thousand will also lose their licence. 

Other offences 

Motorists in Norway can be fined 8,200 kroner for ignoring no entry signs, no traffic signs, no turning signs and no reversing signs, not following one-way traffic rules, not being in the right lane, ignoring roundabout rules, being in the wrong lane (such as a public transport lane), or driving on a pedestrian street. 

They can also be slapped with a 6,200 kroner fine for being in restricted areas. 

Illegal overtakes will land drivers a fine of 10,200 kroner. Examples include overtaking at junctions, when visibility is restricted, and before pedestrian crossings. 

Not giving way, such as for pedestrians at pedestrian crossings, can also result in fines of 10,200 kroner. 

Meanwhile, not using your indicators, not having the right lights on, and other offences can lead to fines of up to 3,900 kroner. 

Things like tailgating, running red lights, being on the wrong side of the road, illegal overtakes, failure to give way, and having people under 15 in the car without a seatbelt will all result in points added to your licence.  

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