WA introduces new $1,000 fine for using mobile phones while driving, the equal highest in Australia
Fines for using your mobile phone for checking social media while driving will more than double, making the penalties WA drivers face for phone use some of the highest in the country.
Under the new legislation, which will take effect on July 1st, drivers will have to pay $1000 and receive four demerit points for especially distracting activities such as texting, streaming video, browsing the internet or checking social media, making them an aggravated offence.
Touching a mobile phone while at traffic lights or holding the phone during a call is considered a lesser offence, costing drivers a $500 fine and three demerit points. The current fine for phone use while driving a car is $400.
Road safety minister Michelle Roberts said in the past five years more than 77,000 drivers were caught by WA police using a mobile phone.
“These increased penalties send a strong message to drivers who engage in deliberate risk-taking behaviour,” she said.
“I want to make it clear to motorists, that using your mobile phone to text or read emails or Facetime while you’re driving is incredibly dangerous.”
Only Queensland carries penalties of equal severity, with fines for mobile phone use in NSW, SA, ACT and Victoria about half.
In 2019, 31 people were killed on West Australian roads due to inattention, which includes mobile phone use, according to government figures.
“We need to change the culture of many drivers, ” Ms Roberts said.
“We’ve done it before with drink driving, we’ve done it with seatbelts and speeding.
“It may take some time to persuade people to be responsible, but we have to do it in order to make our roads safer.”