Using bluetooth-enabled devices while driving may invite ₹1k fine in Bengaluru
The Bengaluru traffic police have decided to imposed fines of up to ₹1,000 on those using bluetooth-enabled devices for communication while riding or driving. As per the amended Motor Vehicles Act use of any mobile devices while driving has been brought under the ‘dangerous driving’ category and attracts a fine of up to ₹5,000 or up to one year jail or both.
While police said that use of the mobile devices for navigation will be allowed, Bengaluru traffic police said that using headphones for navigation will be punishable. According to police, the first violation of rule will attract ₹500 fine, while the fine for the second violation will be ₹1,000.
Joint commissioner of police (traffic) BR Ravikanthe Gowda said that the use of earphones to speak on the phone would lead to restrictions and the department is clear that it is a violation. “As per the Motor Vehicle Act, the use of gadgets that divert the attention during the operation of a vehicle is restricted. Whether it is mobile phones, headphones, bluetooth earphones or any other equipment, it violates this provision, so we have given clear instructions to fine those indulging such use of technology while commuting,” said Gowda.
The officer also said that use of phone or earphone even at signals will attract fines. “Even using these devices while waiting at the signal would attract punishment. Even at the signal, people are on the road and the use of mobile devices is an offense. So, yes, those using mobile phones or bluetooth devices will attract fines,” said Gowda.
Until August this year, Bengaluru traffic police has booked 86,565 people for using mobile phones while driving.
The decision of the police, however, has invited criticism in the city. Several people took on to social media to express their displeasure. Rishi Bangera, a delivery agent with a food delivery app said that the earphones are helpful in getting directions. “The idea of having these headphones was to avoid using a phone while riding. We can get directions from the GPS app and get information from the customer as well. It saves a lot of time,” he said.
Rohan Menezes, a city-based graphic designer said that traffic police are focusing on the wrong issues. “One of the biggest problems in the city has been parking on the footpath and recently, the speeding incidents. But the police are more interested in people wearing headphones. It is absurd,” he said.
“We have heard passengers complaining about the new rule, but the fact is that whenever someone puts a headphone, they don’t hear any noise from around. With bluetooth headphones having technology that cuts all the noise around the person, it is possible that the person may not hear the honk or a vehicle coming towards it,” said a senior east division officer, who didn’t want to be named.