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Talking and driving to become expensive

Date Posted: 2004-09-03

Chatting on a cell phone while driving is frowned upon.

November 1st it will become a no-no with a hefty penalty attached. A new law goes into effect on that date, slapping mobile phone users with a ¥6,000 fine if they’re talking while behind the wheel of a car. Truckers get slapped harder; ¥7,000 is the penalty.

And mini-bike riders who try to talk and steer simultaneously will be penalized ¥5,000.

Aside from the fines, all drivers will be assessed a one point penalty from their license.

The new law also takes aim at noisy vehicles. Cars and trucks that make excessive noise get slapped with the same fines as for cell phone violations.

A super stiff new penalty goes into place for refusing to take a breath test. The current ¥50,000 fee jumps to a ¥300,000 penalty for refusing to take the test.

One other law change starting Nov. 1st slashes from three months to one the amount of time a vehicle owner has to reclaim his vehicle after it’s been illegally parked and towed by authorities.

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