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Stiff penalty in SMS-while-driving case upheld

Switzerland's highest court has ruled that text messaging while driving is a serious violation of the country's traffic regulations.

The Federal Court in Lausanne on Wednesday issued the ruling in a case of a motorist who drove off the road and into a wooden fence while sending an SMS.

The three-year-old case centred on whether the man's actions constituted a major or minor traffic violation. A Zurich court had ruled that the violation was major and that the motorist was negligent.

The court issued a SFr1,000 ($973) fine plus a smaller additional fine.

The man admitted that he had been at fault but argued the offence was not serious, as there was no traffic and visibility was good at the time of the accident.

In upholding the lower court's decision, the Federal Court said the driver would have been unable to avoid a cyclist or pedestrian in his path. and agencies


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