Using mobile while driving | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 16, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 16, 2011


Using mobile while driving

Shun the fatal habit

Driving while distracted is a killer combination. Last Monday a truck loaded with students at Mirsarai of Chittagong drove into a ditch while the driver was talking over the phone. At least 42 students and two others died. It's a common sight of people piloting cars and motorbikes while their ears are glued to a phone. One handed even.
"If you put a 20-year-old driver behind the wheel with a cell phone, their reaction times are the same as a 70-year-old driver who is not using a cell phone," said University of Utah psychology professor David Strayer. "It's like instantly aging a large number of drivers."
Bangladesh traffic is a compounded mess of improperly educated drivers, pedestrians who think the road to be their rightful path and policing that is selective at best. All this is exacerbated by the untimely distraction of the mobile phone. The law says anyone caught using a mobile phone while driving has to pay a nominal fine of Tk 500 or serve one month in jail or both. Yet, this is hardly ever seen or heard of to be the case. People continue chatting away and heaven forbid, texting as well while driving!
A study found texting while driving is about 6 times more likely to result in an accident than driving while intoxicated. Even speaking on the phone causes more distraction and more risk than driving drunk.
A government gazette notification (SRO-293-2007) served on December 19, 2007, said, “No person shall wear earphones or use mobile phones while driving any motor vehicle.” It is yet to be properly enforced. With more than 15 lakh registered vehicles on the road, mobile phone usage if not stopped could only continue to rack up the number of victims. People are perpetually busy but just how difficult is it to pull to the side of a road and answer/make a call?

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