WA drivers face new penalties introduced in time for long weekend

Tough new penalties come in from tonight for dangerous acts on the road.
Tough new penalties come in from tonight for dangerous acts on the road.

THE long-arm of the law now has the vision to match its reach, with WA Police deploying their new long-range camera over the Queens Birthday weekend as new penalties come into effect.

The new camera can detect drivers speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and using their mobile phone from up to 700 metres away, and in a two hour stint on the Great Eastern Highway last Thursday, Police Commissioner Karl O'Callahan said it proved its worth.

In just two hours, the camera detected six speeding drivers, seven drivers not using their seatbelt, eight illegal U-turns and helped catch out one man driving without a license. 

The new camera is being deployed as WA motorists face double demerits and tough new penalties for commiting dangerous acts on the road from midnight on Thursday.

Motorcyclists caught riding without a helmet will be slugged $550 and lose four demerit points.

Motorists caught talking or texting on their mobiles phones face a $400 fine, up from $250, and three demerit points.

Anyone speeding 10-19 kilometres over the limit will be hit with a $200 fine, up from $150.

A new offence, that carries a $1,200 fine, has been brought in for anyone altering number plates or fitting devices that prevent effective identification.

There have been a number of riders killed over the last month and acting police minister John Day said the new fines were aimed at avoiding "some of the horror events over the last couple of weeks".

"There's often plenty of comment, of course, about this being a revenue-raising exercise," he told 6PR Radio on Thursday. "It only has that effect if people don't drive as they should on the road.

"The aim of all this is to get people to drive safely."

Mr Day said the changes, represented the first significant increase in traffic offences in WA in more than 20 years.