Drivers on phone to face stiffer penalties from Dec. 1

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The Japanese government decided Friday to increase penalties for drivers who use phones and other mobile devices while driving. The higher penalties go into effect from Dec. 1.
According to the new rules, the fine for using a cell phone while driving a normal size car will rise from the current ¥6,000 to ¥18,000, Motorcycle drivers caught fingering their devices while driving will end up paying ¥15,000 and those on mopeds or scooters ¥12,000.

Drivers in violation are also slapped with three penalty points instead of the current one.

Those who are judged of causing a dangerous incident that could have resulted in an accident will find themselves in a court facing criminal charges. The revised road traffic law also taking effect on Dec. 1 will beef up criminal punishments for mobile device use while driving.
The current maximum penalty is going to rise from the fine of ¥50,000 to up to six months in jail or up to ¥100,000 fine. Incidents that could have resulted in an accident, will net up to one-year imprisonment or a fine of up to ¥300,000.
According to tne National Police Agency, mobile device use resulted in 2,790 accidents in 2018, a 1.4-fold increase from 2,038 cases five years earlier.

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