Malta Independent

Fines for people using mobile phones while driving to increase – PM


The fines for people using a mobile phone while driving are set to increase, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced on Monday.

Replying to questions from the media after a press conference, Abela said that besides there being more enforcemen­t, drivers themselves must also ensure more responsibi­lity on the roads.

Abela was asked about the traffic situation in Malta, and about any measures which the government may take in order to reduce the number of cars on the country’s roads, particular­ly on whether the government was thinking of introducin­g a new car tax or whether car-free days would start being imposed.

The Prime Minister excluded that any form of new tax on owning a car would be introduced, and said that what worries him more is the number of accidents on Malta’s roads.

2022 has turned out to be a record year for traffic fatalities: 24 people have died so far in road accidents.

Abela noted that some days ago, the Transport Minister [Aaron Farrugia] mentioned that Malta’s road safety strategy is to be updated, saying that this is an important measure. He added that it is also crucial for there to be a bigger traffic enforcemen­t presence on the country’s roads.

He said that he doesn’t like seeing drivers using their mobile phones, be it texting or taking a call, “and we are discussing how the penalties for those caught driving while using their mobile phones will be increased”, he said.

He added that it is a matter of responsibi­lity for every person, mentioning that there is also the responsibi­lity not to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Asked by how much the fines will increase by, Abela said that the amount is still being discussed.

Currently, drivers are handed a €100 fine and docked between three and six points from their license for the offence. This is such after the penalty for the offence was increased back in 2015.

A full driving licence is revoked if, at any time during a period of twelve months, its holder accumulate­s in aggregate twelve penalty points or more.

Last May, figures tabled in Parliament showed that Malta’s drivers had paid a collective total of almost €1 million in fines for using their mobile phones while they were driving during 2021.

Data shows that the authoritie­s had handed out a total of 9,599 contravent­ions connected to a driver using a mobile phone while they were driving during 2021, with the total value of the fines paid by drivers being that of €971,781.52 in turn.

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