06 February, 2006
A habit that may hit Hyderabadis hard
DANGEROUS TREND: Yakking on mobile while driving.
K. Srinivas Reddy
HYDERABAD: Hyderabadis sure are unable to get over this syndrome - Driving WhileYakking (DWY).
Motorists in the twin cities seem to willingly give themselves up to this irresistible urge to yak while driving. But the law enforcers are not amused anymore. Police have begun cracking the whip after the Andhra Pradesh High Court specifically pointed out the growing tendency to flout the law against use of mobile phones while driving.
And instances of motorists arguing with policemen have been on the rise ever since police launched a drive against the DWY syndrome three months ago. As many as 13,000 motorists have been flagged down and handed over penalties of Rs 200 each. But that was during the period of leniency -- the drive was limited to certain traffic junctions only.
Personnel of the traffic police wing are now bracing themselves for a vigorous enforcement and also for some real hot arguments from the motorists. "It can be distracting and it's dangerous not only for the mobile user, but also other road users. We will certainly check this," asserts Additional Commissioner A.K. Khan.
Why would people chat on mobile phones while driving? The question defies any answer as everyone agrees that talking while driving is certainly distracting. "Yes. It's dangerous. Police are doing the right thing," concurred Y. Preetam, a businessman from Narayanguda.
Intriguingly, he was answering the query from The Hindu on his mobile while driving.
Would the police crack down on use of hands-free earphones or those using the Bluetooth? Mr. Khan says the enforcement is against those taking or making calls while driving, whether they use hands-free sets or not. But considering the shortage of manpower to catch the motorists in the act, police could only crack down on those holding mobile phones to their ears.
"They should be pragmatic and encourage 'hands-free' conversations," says A. Srikanth, a dentist. "If distraction is the issue, what about DVD players in cars? Will it take few more years before the police wake up?" questions A. Kalyan Reddy from Padmaraonagar. A software analyst Sanjay Punjari argues: "I don't see any reason why hands-free mobile conversations should not be allowed. Otherwise, the police move to ban talking on cell phones is a right decision."
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(Published on 2nd Feb 2006)
yak or yack = to talk continuously about things that are not very serious or important