Drivers in Western Australia (WA) caught holding their mobile phones while behind the wheel could be hit with a $1,000 on-the-spot fine under new penalties that will come into force on 1 September.

The new penalties will also make the distinction between drivers illegally making an audio call and using their phone in other ways.

Anyone caught texting, emailing, using social media, watching videos or accessing the internet or mobile phone app while in control of a vehicle can face a $1000 fine and four demerit points.

Drivers or riders holding a phone during a voice call face fines of $500 and three demerit points.

Drivers can still legally touch their mobile phone while driving or riding to answer or end a voice call, as long as the phone is in a mounting secured to the vehicle.

The tougher infringements also apply to cyclists.

“In 2019, 31 people were killed on WA roads as a result of inattention, which includes mobile phone use, so the message is crystal clear – distracted driving can be deadly,” said Road Safety Commissioner Adrian Warner.