The rising popularity of mobile devices like phones and tablet computers is posing a greater threat to road safety. To address this, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) in Taiwan recently revised the Statute for Road Traffic Management and Punishment. The MOTC now penalizes motorists using tablets, phones, and other similar devices while they are on the road. Among the prohibited activities are sending and receiving messages and e-mails, capturing photos or video, as well as engaging in other online activities.
The law, which takes effect on January 1, 2013, applies not only when the motorists are driving, but even when they are waiting for the traffic light to change. However, if the motorists have parked their vehicles on the sides of roads, they will be exempt from following the regulation.
Car drivers and motorbike riders get different penalties: the former, if caught by the police, will have to pay a fine of NT$3,000 whereas the latter will be charged with NT$1,000.
Lin Fu-shan, who is the division chief of the MOTC’s Department of Railways and Highways, also announced that they will be releasing videos to encourage the public to join their campaign for safety.
There will be other revisions on traffic rules that will be implemented on October 15, including an increased fine for those who try to pass through a railway crossing. This activity previously corresponded to a fine between NT$6,000 and NT$12,000, but it has now been raised to an amount between NT$15,000 and NT$60,000.
Furthermore, motorists driving while they are drunk with children below 12 years of age will be fined with an amount between NT$15,000 and NT$60,000 and have their driver’s license revoked for two years.
Lastly, motorists who do not pay freeway toll fees will be made to pay a fine between NT$3,000 to NT$6,000, on top of the toll fees.