HYDERABAD: There is a darker side to the city that promises new livelihood opportunities, growth and exposure to employment as a smart city, with vibrant IT hubs. It has become commonplace to see those on two-wheelers and cars using mobile phones. The rise of this nuisance spells disaster for road safety.
Not only is the mindless attitude a violation of traffic rules but it also poses a direct threat to fellow- commuters and pedestrians on the already traffic-choked roads.
As per the data of Hyderabad traffic police with regard to mobile phone violations, 577 cases with a fine of Rs 5,75000 for four-wheelers and 23,588 cases with a fine of Rs 2,34,65,000 for two-wheelers were booked from January 1 to September 30.
Joint commissioner of traffic police A.V. Ranganath, speaking to Deccan Chronicle, said, “There has been an increase in the number of cases for mobile phone violations in recent times. One of the most important components of the intelligent transport management system (ITMS) is enforcement and mobile phone tracking. A rigorous monitoring is carried out by the traffic police with CCTV cameras installed throughout the city and also manually from the command control room.”
Although several minor accidents due to mobile phones happen almost on a daily basis, most of such incidents go unreported at police stations.
Ranganath stressed that using mobile phones while driving was an accident-causing violation, which could be a direct cause of fatal accidents.
“Education and enforcement are the two major aspects that can help curb the menace. Frequently educating people about the risks involved in using mobile phones while driving and a strong deterrent enforcement such as enhancing fines will bring down such instances. We have used strong deterrence of increasing the fines for habitual violations such as parking, wrong side driving, riding without helmet and we will now include use of mobile phones too”, he added.
Assistant professor at the department of civil engineering in NIT Durgapur, Bandhan Bandhu Majumdar, who has been associated with BITS Pilani, Hyderabad, and the Hyderabad traffic police explained the risks involved in the use of mobile phones as they could lead to fatal accidents.
Majumdar said, “Driving is a serious activity that needs complete attention and focus. Using a mobile phone while driving increases one’s reaction time that has been defined in terms of PIEV theory – perception, intellection, emotion and volition. As per the Indian road Congress (IRC) and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) guidelines, the reaction time of a person while driving is 2.5 seconds, which actually increases when a person is using mobile phones while driving due to his distraction”.
The roads were designed considering the specific reaction time of 2.5 seconds and in case of a distraction, such instances of increased reaction time could lead to serious accidents.
“The main problem lies in the designing part where the delay in reaction time is not considered while designing the roads. It is also because extensive research indicates that 2.5 seconds of reaction time is enough for the nervous system to command an action. Therefore it becomes very important not to use a mobile phone which is a severe distraction, especially when overtaking”, Majumdar added.
More road-safety awareness and an increased level of social-moral responsibility to avert the use of mobile phones while driving on the road could improve the situation and provide better road safety, opined the expert....