With two accidents happening every minute of which one results in fatality, 31% of such accidents are because of drivers using mobile phones, reports a survey. Drivers using phones while driving require twice the time to respond to an emergency as against those drivers who do not use their phones, as they drive. A simulated study conducted by the India Institute of Technology, Mumbai revealed that 60% of the drivers respond to texts or calls on their mobiles while driving.
Especially drivers sending a long text or involved in a long call take even more time – 40% to 100% – to respond to situations on the road. According to the simulated study, drivers’ texting longer messages required 137% time for a short message and 204% time when typing a long message to respond to emergency on the road. Similarly, drivers on long calls required close to 100% extra time than usual response time and 40% more time when involved in short conversations.
The reason for majority of the accidents on the road is not drunken driving but either rash driving or distractive driving. Such behavior not only puts the driver and the passengers of the car at peril, but also other vehicles, on the road at risk.
The government has decided to impose stringent rules and impose heavy fines for such offenses to ensure safe roads. Accordingly, provisions for penalties have been included in section 177 of the motor vehicles act of 1988. As per the provisions of the act, if you are caught using phone while driving, either texting or on a call you could be penalized anywhere between a 100 INR to 300 INR.
If the police feels that such usage may have put other drivers, vehicles on the road at risk, they have the discretion to increase the penalty to 1000 INR and may compound it by another 500 INR. In some cases, the traffic police have handed over heavy penalty of up to INR 2000.
Police say, the rules apply for any use of phone, which means that even if you are using wireless devices such as Bluetooth headset, etc., you would still be booked under the provisions and liable to pay fines.