The government said Tuesday that motorists who use mobile phones while driving will be slapped with fines beginning in November.
The move is in keeping with legal revisions implemented earlier this year.
The new regulations also feature higher fines for drivers who refuse to take Breathalyzer tests and those who make unnecessary noise, such as “bosozoku” motorcycle and hot-rod gangs that habitually rev their engines without proper mufflers.
The new rules form part of the revised Road Traffic Law enacted in June.
Drivers who use mobile phones are currently punished only when they pose an imminent accident risk. But under the new rule, they will be fined for just speaking into their phones or looking at the screen.
The fines will be 5,000 yen for small motorcycles, 6,000 yen for cars and 7,000 yen for large vehicles such as trucks and buses. Those who refuse to pay will be fined up to 50,000 yen.
The fine for refusing to take a Breathalyzer test will be raised to 300,000 yen.
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