Talking from the driver's seat...

SHEER RECKLESSNESS

Talking from the driver's seat...

Unconcerned: Auto and cab drivers are often seen using their mobiles while driving.

There are rules that prohibit people from talking on the phone while they are on the driver’s seat. However, cab and autorickshaw drivers often talk on their mobiles while driving passengers around. Though it is clearly a violation of traffic laws, commuters are left wondering what they can do in such a case. Metrolife finds how common is this situation and why nothing is being done about it.

Commuters say that they encounter this situation almost everyday and are clueless about what can be done. “In almost all the autos I get into, the driver uses the cellphone at least once while driving. It is a regular thing,” says Remya Kannan, a student. Others agree. “It happens all the time and is not something that I, as a passenger, can stop,” says Rakesh Singh, a sales professional.

While it is evidently a violation of traffic rules, not much attention is paid to it. Many even say that they are indifferent towards the situation. “We can tell the drivers that it is against the law but that is just an opinion for them, coming from a customer. They won’t listen to us. The authorities need to ensure that the rule is followed,” says Joe Simon, student. And even measures like a complaint helpline are considered useless. “I don’t think anyone would call on that. It is such a small thing that no one really cares,” says Mitali, a housewife.

Another issue that crops up is the involvement of the traffic police. “Traffic policemen only look out for private vehicles. Private vehicle owners are not even supposed to speak on hands free phones,” says Rakesh. “But do you ever see an auto driver being pulled over for talking on the phone? The law is not the same for everyone,” says Joe.

Though talking on the phone while driving is considered to be dangerous, the ‘fear for life’ is not bothering people. “We are not afraid of our life when auto drivers talk on the phone. With the traffic jams in Bangalore, the speed at which they drive is very low,” says Remya.

Praveen Sood, ACP, Bangalore Traffic Police, says that though cabs and auto drivers are not stopped, their numbers are noted down and they are sent notices. “We won’t chase people down and stop them on the road,” he says. He also mentions that customers can call up and complain as well. “There is a helpline and a case would be registered against the person concerned,” he says.

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