RIGA, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Drivers will face tougher penalties for breaching traffic rules on Latvia's roads under the new amendments to the Administrative Offense Code that will come into effect on Thursday, the Latvian state police informed.
Police statistics show that using various smart gadgets like cellphones, tablets or notebook computers while driving remains a serious problem in the Baltic country as 1,744 motorists have been caught using cellphones at the wheel in the first six months of this year.
The fine for using a smart device at the wheel has therefore been increased to 25-100 euros from 15 euros or a warning. The ban, however, does not apply to using handsfree devices while driving.
A failure to use the seatbelt or having an unbuckled passenger in the vehicle will cost the driver from 30 to 70 euros, up from the previous fine of 30 euros. This year, 8,826 drivers have already been fined for such offenses in Latvia. The same penalties will be imposed on helmetless riders of motorcycles, tricycles, quadbikes and scooters.
Under the amended legislation, fines of 70 to 280 euros will be slapped on motorists for reckless or aggressive driving, including for intentional drifting or balancing the motorcycle on the back wheel, as well as necessarily abrupt braking.
Penalties have also been increased for violating the rules of safe transportation of children and honking regulations, as well as a failure to keep a safe trailing distance, police said.