WA drivers to face $1000 fine for using phone behind the wheel

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Motorists in WA will soon face the harshest penalties in Australia for using their mobile phones while driving.

Under new legislation, drivers will be fined $1000 and lose four demerit points for texting, streaming videos, browsing the internet or checking social media while behind the wheel. 

Touching a mobile phone while at the traffic lights or holding it while on a call is considered a lesser offence, attracting a $500 fine and three demerit points. 

The current fine for using a phone while driving is $400.

Police and Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts said there is a need to change the culture of many drivers.

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," Minister Roberts said. 

"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."

It comes as 31 people were killed on WA roads due to inattention in 2019.

In the past five years more than 77,000 drivers have been caught by WA Police using their mobile phones.

The new legislation will come into effect on July 1. 

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