Drivers cop harsh penalties for using their phone

WA introduces new $1,000 fine for using mobile phones while driving, the equal-highest in Australia

WA introduces new $1,000 fine for using mobile phones while driving, the equal-highest in Australia

The West Australian Government has announced harsh new penalties for using mobile phones while driving, introducing a maximum $1,000 on-the-spot fine for motorists.

The new laws will include texting, video streaming, emailing and checking social media pages including Facebook and Instagram.

Motorists caught touching their mobile phone when stopped at traffic lights, or talking on their phone while holding the handset, will be fined $500 and receive three demerit points.

Authorities say the steep fines will send a strong message to drivers who intentionally engage in risky driving behaviour.

RAC General Manager Corporate Affairs Will Golsby joined Perth LIVE where he told Oliver Peterson their own surveys show 4 out 5 drivers are using their phones while driving.

"We see about 25 people a year die on our roads where distraction is one of the contributing factors", Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Mike Keating said.

For more information, visit the Queensland Government website.

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WA and Queensland have some of the toughest penalties for driver mobile phone use in the country.

"The fine and loss of points alone shouldn't be the only deterrent for drivers".

"Whilst driving, you can only touch a mobile phone to receive and terminate a phone call if the phone is secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle".

The WA crackdown follows similar penalties taking effect in Queensland on February 1 this year, with Queensland Police issuing $1000 fines to 218 drivers in less than a week.

South Australian drivers caught using their mobile phone while behind the wheel will incur a $534 fine and three demerit points.

Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts says the fines are about changing the culture around mobile phone use.

Drivers are warned that fines and demerit points are increased if caught using mobile phones while behind the wheel in a school zone.

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