Speaking on your mobile phone while driving may soon result in your license being suspended. The transport department along with the city traffic police is planning to strictly enforce the Central Motor Vehicles Rule 21 (25) that states ‘using mobile phone while driving a vehicle shall constitute nuisance or danger to the public.’
After a preliminary awareness campaign, similar to the one the traffic police recently carried out to make motorists wear seat belts, the transport department will start suspending licences of those who are found talking on their mobile phones while driving. This also applies to those riding motorcycles.
All Regional Transport Officers (RTO) have been instructed to start taking action against those flouting the rules after the public has been sensitised, T. Prabhakar Rao, State transport commissioner said.
Two enforcement squads, in the north and south zone, comprising an RTO and motor vehicle inspectors will be used for the crackdown.
“For evidence, officers have been asked to use their mobile phones to take photographs of those speaking on their mobile phones while driving. The officers will also book those who listen to music on headphones while driving. Any form of attention diversion can cause fatal accidents,” he said.
The government will also increase the strength of the enforcement squad in the next few months. Over 100 additional staff will be recruited.
“Several accidents take place due to the negligence of drivers. In June last year, a private van carrying school students toppled near Chromepet, because the driver was speaking on his mobile phone. Similar accidents happen across the State and it is high time this is brought under control,” a senior traffic police officer said.
C.R Shunmugam, secretary, Automobile Association of Southern India, said penal action was necessary to curb such violations.
“In other countries, anyone who speaks on the mobile phone while driving faces stringent legal action. Texting or talking on the mobile phone while driving diverts the driver’s attention and can potentially lead to accidents,” he said.
According to statistics provided by the State transport department, there are more than 31 lakh two-wheelers and over six lakh cars in the city as of 2013.