83% use mobile phone while driving in Bengaluru

One in eight users does it, safety survey finds

83% use mobile phone while driving in Bengaluru

As many as 83% of all drivers in Bengaluru use mobile phones while at the wheel, a survey has found.
Analysing inputs from 1,749 drivers in eight cities, the survey ranks Bengaluru the worst offender in this regard. Kolkata, where 70% drivers talk on the phone and drive, comes next. The safest city is Jaipur, where only 14% drivers answer or make calls while driving.

The numbers are high in Mumbai (65%), Kanpur (58%) and Delhi (47%), too. The two other cities covered are Chennai (36%) and Mangaluru (41%).

On a national scale, almost all drivers are aware of the dangers of talking while driving, but more than 50% still don’t refrain, according to the questionnaire-based survey conducted by Save Life Foundation, with support from Vodafone.

Casualties huge
The World Health Organisation says road crashes kill 1.2 million worldwide every year, and permanently disable another 50 million. India is the number one contributor to global road crash mortality and morbidity: every hour, 16 lives are lost here.

In the last decade alone, India lost 1.3 million to road crashes; 5.3 million were disabled for life.
According to the Union health ministry estimates, about four lakh road accidents occur every year, killing one lakh people.

In 2015, the National Crime Records Bureau in recorded about 31,000 road accidents, and close to 6,000 deaths, in seven of the eight cities now surveyed (Mangaluru excluded).

Work calls blamed
In most cities, the main reason given for answering calls at the wheel was that they were work-related.  In the case of Bengaluru and Mangaluru, respondents said they picked up calls only if they were driving slow.

The survey also found that 34% mobile-using drivers apply brakes abruptly. This is extremely risky in the case of bus and truck drivers, given the large size of their vehicles.

TV campaign
Save Life Foundation, the NGO that conducted the survey, has produced Kannada television spots against the use of mobile phone while driving.

The campaign will be aired for a month from June. “After a month, we will do a sample survey to find out if people have got the message,” Saji Cherian, director (operations), Save Life Foundation, told DH.
The survey comes at a time when Parliament is debating a set of amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act with a penal provision for talking on the phone while driving.
DH News Service

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