A Kerala Road Transport Bus Driver was chased and stopped by the Motor Vehicle Department of that state for talking on the mobile phone while driving. However, the Motor Vehicle Department of Kerala could not fine him because of a recent High Court judgment. Sounds unbelievable? Well, it really played out just like this. Read on to find out why.
ഫോണ് ചെയ്തു കൊണ്ട് കെ.എസ്.ആര്.ടി.സി ബസ് ഓടിച്ച ഡ്രൈവര്ക്ക് പുനലൂര് വെഹിക്കിള് വക പണി
Punalur News ಅವರಿಂದ ಈ ದಿನದಂದು ಪೋಸ್ಟ್ ಮಾಡಲಾಗಿದೆ ಮಂಗಳವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 19, 2019
The bus driver was merely issued a showcause notice by the RTO rather than being fined. This is because a Kerala high court, in a May 2018 judgment, had ruled that ‘talking on the mobile phone while driving is not an offence, unless it can be established that it endangered public safety’. The court also added that there is no provision under the existing law to book a person talking on the mobile phone while driving.
Here’s what the Division Bench said,
There is no provision in the Police Act that bans people from talking over mobile phone while driving. Hence a person doing this can’t be assumed as one causes danger to the public. The court can’t rule that the person who speaks on a mobile phone while driving causes danger to the public. The assembly should pass an amendment to include these provisions in the Police Act to make it an offence. If the police had registered such cases in the state those concerned can approach the respective magistrate courts to quash their cases.
Now, this judgment meant that the RTO could do nothing more than issuing a showcause notice to the bus driver for talking on the mobile phone while driving. What this also means is, people will no longer fear the consequences of driving/riding while talking on the mobile phone unless the government moves in and amends the law to make such an act a serious offence.
Talking on the mobile phone can not just be distracting while driving/riding a vehicle but can also cause accidents. Such acts, especially from a bus driver, who is responsible for the safety of more than 40 passengers, is just very dangerous. We shudder to imagine what would be the consequences had the driver lost control of the bus while driving.
While such a thing won’t just put the lives of the bus’ passengers in danger, but will also endanger the lives of fellow road users. A heavy vehicle such as a bus must be driven with abundant caution, and a high sense of safety. We hope that the Kerala government steps in and amends the law suitably to make driving/riding while talking on the mobile phone a serious offence.