Please don’t ever ever do this!!

I read a very interesting article titled “No calls in cars, even hands-free” . I’m happy that the authorities in US specifically the National Transportation Safety Board are finally waking up to the menace of talking while driving.

I am aware that I am going to stir the hornet’s nest by saying this because many of my friends routinely talk while they drive/ride  (probably not as bad as the guy in the picture above, though) and they are not going to like this.  Still, I shall plod on.

I know there is a law in India against talking whilst driving and in that sense we are ahead of the US.  I’m not sure if this applies to the hands-free talking and to the two and three wheelers as well.

(This is just like the law against drunken driving that is seldom enforced except to harass drivers during collection periods!! That’s a separate topic by itself)

What are the arguments that talking drivers use to justify their actions?  I have also given a counter for each alongside

a.  It’s an important call and I have to take it.  Take it by all means after stopping on the road side.  Just don’t take the call while you are driving both in the interest of other people on the road as well as the quality of your conversation.  You certainly do not want to handle an important call in such a casual manner, do you?  Lets suppose that the person on the other end of the important call is giving you a name, a number and an email id, can you write it down while you drive?  Would you take that “important” call while you are shaving or having your breakfast?  Surely a call is not as important as your life and the lives of your co-passengers (even if you do not give a damn to the other users of the road)

b.  Nothing will happen because I can really manage.  Perhaps you can and you are because you have not been hurt so far but you do not know the distress you have caused to others by your dual action. And do you want to really get into a serious mishap to stop doing this? 

c.  I am talking on the phone just like I’m listening to FM radio or a CD.  There is a subtle but a huge difference.  When you are listening, you can do it subconsciously as well but try talking to someone live that way.  You can also choose to just listen but can you do it while on the phone? And if the song is not interesting or loud, you can turn it off but can you cut off someone on the phone that way? And if you can do that why take the call in the first place?

d.  I do not see any danger in talking while driving.  Remember that you have to participate in a conversation and that means reacting and responding.  Lets say that your friend calls up while you are driving and tells you that the stock market has crashed by 500 points.  Can you carry on the conversation in a light-hearted manner especially when you have just purchased shares for a few lakhs just the last week in the hope of a rise?  You certainly cannot.  And surely that news will have a bearing on your concentration which can create problems for you or for the other people on the road.  I’m not saying that you will get such calls but you cannot be sure that all the calls that you get would be casual.  Why take the chance at all?

e.  How is this different from the conversations I have with the fellow passengers?  Not very different except that you can choose not to respond to something that is happening within the confines of your vehicle while you cannot do so when someone else is on the phone at the other end.

Let us be aware of the various problems that we face while commuting.  The roads are full of potholes (or as my younger son often says “appa! there is some road between the potholes), the traffic is heavy, everyone is trying to get ahead at the same time, the fumes are all over, the day heat is scorching, we are already late for the meeting etc etc!! Why compound this by talking as we drive or ride?

And if talking is a real disaster-in-waiting, the less said the better about  sms or texting.  Remember that you do not have to respond to the sms instantly and it will wait in your inbox till you delete it.

If it is a matter of life and death to take the call, choose the life option by asking someone else in the vehicle to take the call on your behalf or stop by the road side and complete the call in safety!!

And if that call can wait (as most calls do), then return those calls when you are at home or at office or wherever you can talk freely without jeopardizing your life and others too!!

Please do not talk or text while you drive or ride!!

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1 Comment

  1. June 28, 2012 at 2:30 am

    […] had earlier written a post on talking and driving here. Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterLinkedInLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]


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