It has been illegal to talk on the phone while driving for a long time in India. To add to it, police in Kerala have taken it upon themselves to book and fine anyone who is using a hands-free device to talk on the phone while driving. As the lockdown restrictions ease around the country, people are commuting more, this is also leading to a rise in accident cases. That is why the police will now implement the law which was notified back in 2019.
Yet the action pertaining to this law is particularly difficult to implement. Most automobiles have Bluetooth connecting infotainment systems, and it is very difficult for the police to find out who may or may not be talking on a call. As a result, the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) has also advised drivers not to use Bluetooth devices to chat on the phone while driving.
In 2019, the MVD used Central Motor Vehicle Rule 21(25) of the Motor Vehicle Act 2019 to prohibit communicating on Bluetooth devices. The Kerala High Court ruled that the police cannot file a case against someone who is driving while chatting on the phone. According to the HC, there is no provision in the legislation that prohibits the use of mobile phones while driving.
However, officers are now using Section 118(e) of the Kerala Police Act to charge someone with driving while chatting on the phone. Section 118(e) is used to penalize drivers for engaging in any conduct that endangers the public or results in a failure in public safety.
Talking on the phone is distracting, regardless of whether Bluetooth or hands-free devices are used. It takes away your attention from the road and makes it difficult to think fast if something goes wrong on the road. Texting and driving might be even riskier.
Even if you are not carrying a phone or using a Bluetooth gadget, your thoughts might wander and steal your focus away from the road. It can lead to mishaps.