Talking on a mobile phone while driving may cost you your driving licence. Amendments being made in the Motor Vehicles Act for the offence include strict enforcement provisions, including heavy fine and cancellation of licence for six months.
This is being done in a bid to check rising fatal road accidents in the country.
In the current system, offenders are let off on paying a penalty of Rs 1,000.
“Recommendations have been made to include strict penal provisions in the new Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) of 1988 for drivers found using mobile phone. They will be treated as offenders while driving. Section 183 of the MVA will define the mobile phone and also specify penalties for talking on the phone while driving,” said Saroj Kumar Dash, joint secretary, ministry of road transport and highways, on Saturday. He said so at the end of a two-day meet to reduce fatal accidents, organised by International Road Federation in the Capital.
“Even sending an SMS or reading a message while driving will be counted an offence as per the new Act,” he added.
The changes also include overhauling the system of issuing driving licences. In the current system, thanks to loopholes, even a person who doesn’t know driving can have a licence issued by transport authorities. With over 130,000 road deaths reported in the country last year, the government is planning to plug these loopholes, Dash said.
Mahesh Chandra, deputy director-general, National Informatics Centre said all road transport offices (RTOs) in the country would be fully computerised and interconnected by the end of 2009. Currently, only 78 per cent RTOs are computerised.