The McGowan Government is introducing tough new penalties to deal with driver distraction on our roads, caused by mobile phone use behind the wheel.
A new aggravated offence for using a mobile phone while driving will apply to drivers caught texting or emailing, using social media, watching videos or accessing the internet.
The new penalty of $1,000 and four demerit points reflects the higher level of distraction and recognises the dangerous and deliberate nature of such actions.
Any driver who touches their mobile phone while stopped at traffic lights, or talks on the phone while holding the handset will incur a penalty of $500 and three demerit points.
This distinction between different types of phone use follows the approach taken in NSW and the ACT.
These changes significantly increase the current $400 fine and three demerit point penalty and will see Western Australia have some of the toughest penalties in Australia for mobile phone use while driving.
Last year 31 people were killed on WA roads as a result of inattention, which includes mobile phone use.
In the past five years more than 77,000 drivers have been caught by WA Police using their mobile phones.
As stated by Police; Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts:
“These increased penalties send a strong message to drivers who engage in deliberate risk taking behaviour.
“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.
“We need to change the culture of many drivers.
“We’ve done it before with drink driving, we’ve done it with seatbelts and speeding.
“Now we are doing it with mobile phones.
“It may take some time to persuade people to be responsible, but we have to do it in order to make our roads safer.”