Starting on Jan. 1 next year, people using mobile phones without a hands-free kit, sending text messages or playing on their computers while driving will face a penalty of NT$3,000, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said yesterday.
Those doing these activities while riding motorcycles will be fined NT$1,000, it added.
The ministry said it had already banned drivers or motorcycle riders from making or receiving calls on their mobile phones without using a hands-free kit.
The amendment to the Act Governing the Punishment of Violation of Road Traffic Regulations (道路交通管理處罰條例), which passed in May, further barred motorists from going on the Internet through mobile phones or computers, taking photographs, videotaping, checking e-mails, doing editing or reading electronic documents while driving.
As the latest regulations describes a new dangerous driving behavior, the ministry said it would inform the public about the new measure for three months.
The ministry said that drivers waiting at red lights would be fined if they were caught doing any of the stated behaviors. However, they would be exempt from fines if they had parked their cars in parking spaces before starting those activities, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, starting on Oct. 15, drunken drivers transporting children under the age of 12 will have their driving licenses suspended for two years, the ministry said.
The penalty for those illegally driving through railway crossings will be raised from between NT$6,000 and NT$12,000 to between NT$15,000 and NT$60,000, it said.