Police clamp down on driver mobile phone use

WA drivers have not heeded warnings about harsher penalties for using a mobile phone behind the wheel, with a number of motorists already caught.

WA Police have already issued 38 infringements to drivers, after they were caught using their mobile phone while operating their car.

Drivers caught creating or viewing a text or video, using video chat or other functions or apps on their phone will be hit with a $1000 fine and four demerit points.

A lesser penalty of $500 and three demerit points will apply to motorists caught holding or touching their phone to make, receive or end a call.

Police Minister Michelle Roberts said using a phone while operating a car remained a serious issue on the roads.

“Using a mobile phone is dangerous,” Mrs Roberts said.

“It’s dangerous to you, it’s dangerous to other road users.”

Mrs Roberts said the changes to the laws were not about unnecessarily penalising road users.

“It’s about getting people to think about that level of distraction,” she said.

“it is gobsmacking when you see sometimes recorded footage…of someone driving along next to them on the freeway in a 100km/h zone and clearly watching a movie or clearly texting while driving at 100km/h.”

“The community response to that is throw the book at them.”

She confirmed that double demerits would apply to mobile phone infringements during long weekends and public holidays.

However, she said police would not be catching drivers in fast food drive throughs.

31 people died on WA roads last year in car crashes that involved distraction.

It was a 48 per cent increase on the previous five year average.

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