Distracted driving continues to be a threat to people’s lives

accidents National

Use of mobile, drunk driving are instances

Despite the number of deaths and injuries caused due to distracted driving, people continue to neglect its consequences. 

According to the World Health Organisation, drivers who use mobile phones while driving are four times more vulnerable to road accidents.

Bankrate describes distracted driving as an activity that diverts the driver’s attention from driving. Texting, talking on the phone, eating and drinking while driving are examples of distracted driving.

The Observer noticed a man crossing a road watching a video on his phone with earphones plugged in.

Afroz, 25, who rides a motorcycle, said “Whenever I want to talk to someone on the phone or I need to use GPS, I always stand aside. I have seen people driving while talking on their phones; this diverts their attention (and) puts their lives at risk.”

Rajendra Prasad, a motorist, said both pedestrians and drivers could be at fault in an accident. He has seen people driving after drinking.

Mahima, a student of Sophia High School, narrated to The Observer an accident she said. “Pedestrians are also responsible for accidents. Once I saw a man using his phone in the middle of the road. He was so occupied with the phone that people had to shout to alert him.”

Aiswarya Saji, an advocate, explained: “In India, distracted driving is classified as either mobile driving or intoxicated driving. Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, makes both activities an offence.  As per the Motor Vehicle Acts, a person who drives in a drunken state or under the influence of drugs is punishable.”   

In 2016, the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill proposed an amendment to Section 184 to include   the “use of handheld devices allowed while driving. If violated, the driver will be fined Rs 5000 and/ or be jailed for a year.”

According to the ‘Road Accidents in India 2020’ report of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), more than 3.66 lakh road accidents occurred in India in which more than 3 lakh people were injured and 1.3 lakh lost their lives.

Harish Kumar, a constable of the Cubbon Park Traffic Police Station, said road accidents happen due to overspeeding, overconfidence, poor road conditions and distracted driving.

Narasimharaju G.C., a head constable of the same police station, said a person charged under the Motor Vehicles Act for using a phone while driving is liable to pay a fine of Rs 2,500. 

According to the Road Accidents Report, 2020, out of the  43,412 fatal accidents that took place on national highways, Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 7,031 (16.2%), followed by Maharashtra (3,232, 7.4%), Karnataka (3,039, 7%), and Bihar (3,004, 6.9%). 


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