Smartphones have almost become a part of human anatomy. It has become extremely difficult for us to lead a life without being dependent on our smartphones. This behavior also extends to our driving habits. Whether it is to check for routes, listen to music by connecting our phones to our car’s music system, or answering urgent calls on the go, drivers are often seen with their smartphones while they are behind the steering wheel. Is this behavior hazardous? It certainly is.
Attending to your smartphone or fidgeting with it while you are driving a vehicle can prove fatal to the driver, fellow passengers, and pedestrians on the road. Read ahead to know why you must avoid talking or using a smartphone while driving a vehicle.
In India, roads are narrow, footpaths are encroached upon by hawkers, pedestrians walk on the road instead of footpaths, zebra crossing rule is not followed actively, bikers do not tend to wear helmets, vehicles do not always give accurate signals, the traffic signal is sometimes blatantly overruled, so on and so forth. Amidst all this, if the driver is also distracted, then the probability of accidents is bound to increase.
A Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ 2015 report states that there were 8,359 crashes due to driver’s inattentiveness. There are newspaper reports that suggest a lot of road accidents are taking place because the driver is distracted by a mobile device while driving. This distraction can be due to talking or texting while driving.
Imagine scenarios where a teenager is driving his brand-new car and talking on phone with his girlfriend. A senior sales executive is involved in an argument with his junior and is about to fire him on call. An elderly gentleman is confused regarding how to send a text message while driving on a highway. All these situations become extremely prone to accidents not only because the people involved are focusing on two tasks and the phone is distracting them from driving, but also because the situation is affecting their psychology.
Excitement, anger, confusion, etc. are not calming influences. And while driving a car, such feelings can cause a distraction. How can a person focus on driving his car if he is busy talking to a loved one, firing an executive, or is in a confused state of mind? People start perceiving driving as a passive activity as and when they become experienced drivers. However, driving is always an active activity and needs undivided attention of the driver.
A study conducted by Human Factors and Ergonomics Society stated that talking on a hands-free device while driving a vehicle also affects the driver’s performance. Negative effects were also seen on drivers who engaged in talking with their fellow passengers while driving as well.
Time For Action
As per their website, Mumbai’s traffic police levies a traffic fine of Rs. 200 on a driver talking on phone. Relevant authorities are levying traffic fines and setting new traffic rules to curb this menace. News reports suggest that the West Bengal government is suspending the driving license of those found talking on the phone while driving. And CCTV footage will be considered as evidence against drivers caught talking on the phone while driving.
Till the time self-driving cars takeover, the roads, you should avoid talking while driving. With self-driving cars, you will no longer have to focus on the road, and can freely talk and text with fellow passengers without worrying about causing accidents or attracting traffic police fines. With rising accident rates, the authorities will bring up new traffic rules but ultimately, the onus of responsible driving lies with the drivers.