The Western Australia (WA) Government has announced tough new, two-tiered penalties for drivers caught using mobile phones illegally on WA roads.

From 1 July this year, drivers caught holding or touching their phone to make a voice call will receive an increased penalty of a $500 infringement and three demerit points.

A higher penalty of a $1,000 infringement and four demerit points will apply to drivers who create a text, watch a video, use video chat or use their navigation app while driving; functions that can result in a high level of driver distraction.

“These new penalties reflect the cognitive load that making a phone call and interacting with friends and family through text, video or social media has on a driver,” said Road Safety Council Chairman Iain Cameron.

“Drivers need to have their mind as well as their eyes on the road, and as much as we think we can, we cannot do two things at once well.”

Cameron highlights that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds at 60km/h is the same as driving 33 metres while blindfolded.

“This law reform is about ensuring that all drivers and riders are aware of the level of distraction and risk that comes with using a mobile phone illegally on the road,” he added.

In 2019, 19 percent of all road fatalities in Western Australia were attributed to inattention, of which mobile phone use is included, but also includes drivers whose minds were not on the task of driving at the time of the crash.