From November 25, drivers caught breaching mobile phone rules while driving will face a $433 fine and the loss of four demerit points, up from the current $289 and three points.
The new penalty will wipe out one third of the 12 demerit point-limit on a ‘full’ licence and 80 percent of the five-point-limit for P-platers.
Laws currently banning the use of phones while driving for learner drivers and red P1 P-plate drivers will now extend to P2 drivers on green P-plates.
Mr Mulder said that he hopes mobile phone use while driving will one day become as socially unacceptable as drink driving.
“It’s a scary statistic that 88 percent of young drivers using mobile phones report reading text messages, and 77 percent report sending text messages,” Mr Mulder said.
“Sixty percent of middle-aged drivers report reading texts and 51 percent report sending them. The message clearly isn’t getting through, which is why we are making the fines and penalties even tougher.”
VicRoads encourages the use of its free “Road Mode” app, which can silence incoming calls and text messages while behind the wheel and informs the caller/sender that the intended recipient is driving.