Earlier, it was believed that only holding the phone while driving would result in getting a challan, however, it is now reported that even talking on the phone using the bluetooth system of your car is also illegal.
According to a statement made by BK Upadhyay, the previous Joint commissioner of traffic police, talking on the phone in any form while driving the car is illegal. The same is displayed in the Mumbai traffic police’s site in their FAQ page.
Currently, drivers can be booked under Section 184 of the IPC for driving while talking on the phone. This attracts a fine and could even result in a jail sentence. In the country’s capital, Delhi, where the Supreme Court had ordered a 3 month license suspension for a few major violations, one of which is talking on the phone while driving.
Talking on the phone while driving distracts the driver as he is now concentrating on the road as well as his conversation on the phone. Nowadays people are texting while driving as well, making it more unsafe for other road users. The only legal way to answer a call when behind the wheel is to pull over to the side of the road and then answer the phone.
According to available research, talking on the phone while driving, irrespective of the mode (bluetooth or actually holding the phone) is very distracting – the attention of the driver is divided between the conversation and the road. This logic however applies to a lot of things – noisy passengers, music or eating snacks are all distractions. However, in India, laws do not exist for those activities but mobile phone use comes under existing laws. It is advisable not to do it, even if cops do not enforce the law where you live.
Earlier in the year, an NGO called SaveLife Foundation revealed the following data on India’s distracted driving. A total of 1,749 drivers across 8 cities were contacted and the data showed that over 47% of the people used the phone while driving. 34% of the people tended to apply sudden brakes while talking on the phone and driving, making it very risky for other road users. 20% of the people have had a crash or have had a near miss due to talking on the phone, something which is very disturbing indeed.