WA to introduce steep $1000 fine for mobile phone use while driving

Police and Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts said it might take time to persuade people to be responsible

Police and Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts said it might take time to persuade people to be responsible

The new penalty of $1000 and four demerit points will come into effect on July 1, causing WA to have some of the toughest penalties for mobile phone use while driving in Australia.

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

Drivers can cop the penalties if a mobile phone is in their hand and being used for any reason while driving - including when stopped at traffic lights or in congested traffic - according to the Queensland Government website.

But the penalties in those states are not as harsh, with the $1,000 fines in WA and Queensland almost double the next highest among Australian states and territories.

"These increased penalties send a strong message to drivers who engage in deliberate risk taking behaviour".

The increased penalties come after 31 people were killed on WA roads a year ago as a result of inattention, which includes mobile phone use.

For more information, visit the Queensland Government website.

The fine is a huge increase from the current $400 fine and follows the lead of Queensland, where mobile fines have also been hiked.

Snr Constable Walters said Emerald Police would continue to target drivers using their phones.

As of next month, NSW drivers will be hit with a $344 fine and five demerit points.

Western Australia and Queensland have the steepest penalties for mobile phone use while driving than any other state or territory.

In Victoria, if a driver is caught using their mobile phone, they will receive four demerit points and a $496 fine.

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

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

Tasmanian drivers will be hit with a $336 fine and three demerit points.

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