New Delhi: If you use a mobile or iPad while driving, beware. You will have to cough up Rs.500 as penalty. And if the offence is repeated, the fine may zoom to anything between Rs.2,000 and Rs.5,000.In a desperate bid to arrest the mounting road accidents across the country, the cabinet on Thursday approved the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill of 2007 to increase penalties manifold.

Drunken driving will now invite fines ranging from Rs.2,000 to Rs.10,000 depending on the extent of alcohol traced in the blood. In worst cases, it could lead to cancellation of the driving licence.

"Enhanced penalties will act as a deterrent and help discipline errant road users," said Road Transport Minister C.P. Joshi.

According to data with the ministry, the number of people killed in road accidents in India rose from 1.25 lakh in 2009 to 1.34 lakh in 2010."If road users are disciplined, many lives can be saved," said a ministry official.

International Road Federation president K.K. Kapila told: "We had been pushing for the amendments for long. Finally the social debates and discussions on the issue have borne fruit. I am sure the hiked penalties will prove a deterrent to a major percentage of drivers."In the first category of drunk driving, 30-60 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood will fetch six months in jail or Rs.2,000 as fine or both.

In the second, 60-150 mg per of alcohol will invite one year in jail or Rs.4,000 as fine or both.In the same category, a repeat offence will lead to three years in jail or Rs.8,000 as fine or both.If there is over 150 mg of alcohol per 100 ml in blood, the punishment will be two years in jail or Rs.5,000 as fine or both.

A repeat offence in this category will fetch four years in jail or Rs.10,000 as fine or both -- or even cancellation of the driving licence.

The bill proposes to punish motorists driving under the influence of narcotic substances. The first offence will lead to six months in jail or Rs.2,000 as fine or both.

A subsequent offence will lead to two years in jail or Rs.5,000 as fine or both.The second offence under this category will invite jail for six months or Rs.10,000 fine or both or cancellation of your licence.

In case of a death in a road accident, the compensation is proposed to be hiked from Rs.25,000 to Rs.1 lakh. In case of serious injury, compensation will be Rs.50,000.The amendment to the act will be presented in the Rajya Sabha in the budget session starting March 12.