The Jodhpur bench of Rajasthan High Court has directed that the driving licences of those caught talking on their mobile phones while driving should be cancelled. The bench has told the state traffic police to take photographs of such offenders and forward their details to the regional transport office and cancellation of their DLs. The decision was taken after the additional commissioner of police (traffic) told the court that a large number of four- and two-wheeler users used their mobile phones while driving and riding, which is the root cause of several accidents. The court has also said that the proceedings for cancellation of DLs will be initiated after giving the offender an opportunity for a hearing.
A World Health Organisation report has found that those using mobile phones while driving face four times higher risk of a crash. The number of accidents and deaths due to this growing menace has shot up across the world. In the year 2016, 2,138 lives were lost in India due to using mobile phones while driving. And experts suggest that the data is hugely under-reported since there is hardly any scientific investigation or recording of fatal crashes in India.
Using the mobile phone while driving is the most common and easy form of distraction when behind the wheel. More and more states need to take a que from the Rajasthan government and implement a similar rule.
Some foreign countries slap a very heavy fine on those caught using a handheld device while driving. For example, if you are an offender in Oman, you face 10 days of jail time and $780 in fine (nearly Rs 52,000). That's way more than what we're doing in India. The reason is clear: it is dangerous!
When a driver is distracted, they don't realise that their car is drifting across lanes. They don't realise that a motorcyclist just had a near miss because of them. They don't even realise that the motorcyclist came near their window, blurted out some abuses and got as far away from their car as possible because the person on the two-wheeler thinks the driver is a lunatic.
And, there's another thing. Oman is so strict with what they do to the offenders caught talking on the mobile phone while driving when most of the cars plying their roads are automatic. India is only getting used to automatic gearboxes now. Except for the premium brands that sold automatic transmission cars, mass-market cars are only now catching on with the AMT or the CVT. What do you think you're doing handling a clutch and a gear knob and a mobile phone altogether!
Point is most of us don't realise it but it is dangerous to use mobile phones while driving. Why wait for the government to shove such stringent laws down our throats? Why not be civilised within ourselves and not do such things that create situations like an increase in the number of deaths because of distracted driving?