Motorists caught on their phone while driving will be fined €200 and docked up to nine penalty points on their licence as of Friday, as new, stricter traffic contraventions come into effect.
The revised contraventions were first unveiled in February by the Transport Minister as part of a broader plan to improve road safety, following a record 26 traffic fatalities in 2022.
Introduced through a legal notice, the more stringent penalties kick into effect on Friday.
The following is the list of fines:
Fines have been increased for a number of contraventions, from running a red light to failing to properly secure a load on a vehicle.
But it is the significant increase in penalties for using a phone while driving that is likely to attract the attention of most motorists.
Previously, drivers caught using their phones were fined €100 and docked between three and six penalty points. Both those penalties will now double, with truck or bus drivers having to pay a €300 fine.
The revision means that a driver caught on their phone twice within the space of a year will have their licence temporarily suspended.
Law enforcement dished out 39,000 tickets to motorists caught on their phones between 2018 and late 2022, with the lion’s share of those tickets coming in 2021 and 2022.
Driving while on your phone is considered to be a major road safety issue by experts, though authorities in Malta do not provide statistics about the cause of traffic accidents. That may change in the future, once a road accident investigative bureau is set up in December.
But while rules and penalties have been tightened, enforcement is currently hamstrung by an industrial dispute at Transport Malta.
The dispute means Transport Malta road enforcement officers are currently not dishing out tickets for contraventions, as their union battles with the government to secure a better collective agreement.
Police officers and LESA community officers are still enforcing traffic rules and issuing contraventions as normal, however.