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Uttar Pradesh tops in mishaps caused due to people using phone while driving

Using mobile phone while driving is illegal in India under the Motor Vehicles Act. However, the ban is rarely enforced.

lucknow Updated: Apr 27, 2018 22:16 IST
Brajendra K Parashar
Brajendra K Parashar
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh,Mobile phone,Road accidents
A government report ‘Road Accidents in India-2016’ shows at least 2,138 persons were killed in 4,976 accidents identified to have been caused by drivers on the phone.(HT FIle Photo)

Uttar Pradesh accounted for the highest number of road accidents in India due to people using mobile phone while driving, government data for 2016 show, highlighting a menace that led to the death of 13 students in Kushinagar.

Police said that the driver of the school van allegedly had his earphones plugged in to his mobile when he was crossing an unmanned level crossing on Thursday and did not hear or see the train that rammed into the vehicle.

Though using mobile phone while driving is illegal in India under the Motor Vehicles Act, the ban is rarely enforced.

Road Accidents in India-2016, an annual publication of the ministry of road transport and highways, had introduced a category for classifying road accidents according to responsibilities of drivers, including talking on mobile phone while driving.

Across India, at least 2,138 persons were killed in 4,976 accidents identified to have been caused by drivers on the phone, the report show. More than 4,700 people were also injured in such accidents in the country.

In UP, mobile phone usage was identified as the cause of 1,595 road accidents that killed 874 people, which means the state accounted for 32% of all such deaths across India in 2016. The report adds that 1,257 people were injured in the accidents.

The total number of people killed in road accidents in 2016 stood at 19,320.

While the state’s population and size also contributed to the high numbers, officials said that poor enforcement of laws and lack of awareness were major factors.

“Enforcement perhaps needs to be strengthened to have an effective check on violations of rules while people should also at the same time understand that obeying traffic rules in their interest only,” said additional road safety commissioner Gangaphal who uses only his first name.

Violators were generally ignored or they committed the offence without the fear of getting punished, he added.

However, UP’s share in the country’s total number of registered vehicles is lower than some other states.

The same also show that Maharashtra’s share in the number of registered vehicles in the country in 2015 was 12.2% against UP’s 10.3%.

But unlike UP, Maharashtra recorded 170 deaths in 382 road accidents identified to have been caused due by drivers using the phone.

Officials quoted other studies as suggesting that talking on phone or listening to music with the earphone plugged in while driving was equivalent to drink driving.

“When people talk on the phone or listen to music using earphones they also often create an image in their minds which transports them to another world,” said another transport official who did not wish to be identified.

“They are not in a position to respond to an emergency situation the way they should,” he added.

First Published: Apr 27, 2018 22:16 IST