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Old 16th February 2018, 14:55   #1
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Default Hyderabad: Crackdown on drivers using headphones

Hyderabad: Use earphones while driving and face music

Hyderabad: Driving with earphones on may land you in jail, 6 violators imprisoned


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Driving with your ears plugged can get you arrested. The Hyderabad traffic police has started booking commuters caught using earphones or headphones while driving under Section 184 of the Motor Vehicles Act.

Instead of simply imposing fines, the police is filing chargesheets against offenders and detaining their vehicles.

Vehicles will be released only after the offenders complete a jail term and undergo counselling.

About 192 cases have been booked so far this month, of which six offenders are put behind bars.
Valentine Day's gift from Hyderabad Traffic Police. While I am surprised at the strict terms (jail time), I think it is a good move. I have encountered several distracted drivers who seems to be either listening to music or on a call. It is not clear but i assume this rule is for all drivers, bike, auto, car, etc. The cops have even stated that they feel pedestrians using earphones should be made illegal.
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Old 16th February 2018, 15:12   #2
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Default re: Hyderabad: Crackdown on drivers using headphones

Any motorist/pedestrian is an awful threat on the road; glad the Hyderabad police intend to take notice of this. This damn thing (wearing be it the in-ear or the large over-the-ear earphones) has become an unnecessary menace and needs to be stopped.

The grey area in this, though, is the bluetooth headsets. Wonder how the cops plan to look at that. I'm assuming cars with bluetooth connectivity are not under the purview.

EDIT:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ksameer1234 View Post
Can just the presence of headphones deem that person was driving dangerously?
When someone is wearing headphones, you'd assume that they're doing so to listen to music, make a call (if connected to the phone). Ergo, their attention is divided from their main task: riding/driving/being a pedestrian. The fact that their attentiveness is reduced makes them a liability on the road. To others and themselves. Straightforward, isn't it?

They're not being dangerous per say, they can just cause harm through their lack of awareness.

Last edited by libranof1987 : 16th February 2018 at 15:33.
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Old 16th February 2018, 15:21   #3
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Default re: Hyderabad: Crackdown on drivers using headphones

While I totally detest this habit of listening to music while riding a two-wheeler and always advise friends and family against it, is it really illegal to wear them while riding? What about those using hearing aids with cords which may also appear like headphone? By the same extension of logic, why allow people to listen to music loudly in cars?

News article states that case was booked under Section 184 of MV act which pertains to Driving Dangerously. Can just the presence of headphones deem that person was driving dangerously?
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Old 16th February 2018, 15:34   #4
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Default re: Hyderabad: Crackdown on drivers using headphones

I don't think this is a fair rule. For car owners there is a bluetooth system to communicate on the go and a multi-speaker audio system for music needs. Why discriminate the motorcycle riders alone?? Granted that this causes a loss in concentration for motorcycle riders but the same applies to car drivers too.

Last edited by GT3 : 16th February 2018 at 15:36.
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Old 16th February 2018, 15:45   #5
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Default re: Hyderabad: Crackdown on drivers using headphones

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Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
When someone is wearing headphones, you'd assume that they're doing so to listen to music, make a call (if connected to the phone).
It is an assumption, like you agree. I am in no way denying that absolutely anything that does/may divert the attention of driver / rider is dangerous to not only the rider but also to anyone sharing road with him. However, I am still not convinced if this enforcement is justified which appears to be presumptive. Had the riders been changing lanes without indication/speeding/honking etc., booking them would have been justified, not so otherwise.
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Old 16th February 2018, 15:54   #6
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Default re: Hyderabad: Crackdown on drivers using headphones

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Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
The grey area in this, though, is the bluetooth headsets.
Just a matter of time.

Have already heard a couple of cases where police guys questioned about the bluetooth modules on helmet. Now with such a rule, things might just take a turn for the worse.

People speaking with mobiles on one hand grabbing the handlebar with the other need to be jailed. For earphone guys, I personally feel this is over reacting and a heavy fine should be good enough.
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Old 17th February 2018, 10:36   #7
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Default re: Hyderabad: Crackdown on drivers using headphones

Do citizens of this country need the threat of extreme punishment before they can be actually deterred from harmful activity? And this is being done under Section 184 of the MV Act, which says
Quote:
184. Driving dangerously.—Whoever drives a motor vehicle at a speed or in a manner which is dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances of the case including the nature, condition and use of the place where the vehicle is driven and the amount of traffic which actually is at the time or which might reasonably be expected to be in the place, shall be punishable for the first offence with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, and for any second or subsequent offence if committed within three years of the commission of a previous similar offence with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, or with both.
So, jumping a red light, zigzag driving, exceeding the speed limit, etc. should ALL attract a jail term. Isn't this for a magistrate to decide (monetary fine or jail term), or can the traffic police be the prosecutor and judge all rolled into one?
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Old 17th February 2018, 10:47   #8
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Default re: Hyderabad: Crackdown on drivers using headphones

Using mobile phones/headphone/in-ear plugs while riding/driving has become quite common and is extremely dangerous, no two thoughts about that.

Problem is that such rules are always subject to interpretation and obviously there are 2 sides to a coin! Going by the letter of the law or going by the spirit of the law can polarize opinions.

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
So, jumping a red light, zigzag driving, exceeding the speed limit, etc. should ALL attract a jail term.
We need to add driving on wrong side/one way violation to that list, that definitely needs a punishment that will deter someone from repeating it.

It has become too common these days to find people riding/driving on wrong side everywhere

Last edited by NPV : 17th February 2018 at 11:00.
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Old 17th February 2018, 13:46   #9
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Default re: Hyderabad: Crackdown on drivers using headphones

I find this to be absolutely nonsensical. I am not against the punishment but the whole idea that this is a punishable offense at all! I always have my phone connected and like to listen to music on long drives and have my ears plugged or use earphones on long rides and find that if anything, I am able to focus better. I simply do not understand why anyone would have anything against the use of earphones over the use of a car's stereo system or ear plugs while riding.

By this logic we must ban factory fitted radios and Bluetooth compatible head units and sound dampening on premium cars all that is needed to drive/ride properly is vision straight ahead and through the mirrors and a sensitivity to vibrations and connect with engine revs is always a plus. One absolutely does not require any hearing aid in order to drive or ride properly if that were the case, racing drivers/riders would not wear earplugs and have com systems in place. When will our country simply make the testing procedure for procuring a driving/riding license in the first place, more strict to begin with?

Last edited by Eddy : 20th February 2018 at 16:03. Reason: Spacing for better readability
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Old 17th February 2018, 14:39   #10
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Default re: Hyderabad: Crackdown on drivers using headphones

I too think this is high handedness. Effort should be spent in punishing severe traffic offenses; not in things like this.
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Old 19th February 2018, 09:58   #11
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Default Re: Hyderabad: Crackdown on drivers using headphones

Agreed with the others. Jail time is a bit too excessive and sends out the wrong message. Worst case should be a steep fine.

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Originally Posted by DriverR View Post
The cops have even stated that they feel pedestrians using earphones should be made illegal.
Completely agree with this and learned my lesson the hard way. Walking back from the gym a couple of years back, I was listening to music on my headphones and completely distracted . A black & yellow cab missed me by a whisker while I carelessly crossed the road. Never again.
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Old 19th February 2018, 10:26   #12
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Default Re: Hyderabad: Crackdown on drivers using headphones

I think there is no logic to this move. I agree with this move but targeting only bikers is unfair.

What about car drivers with Bluetooth calling, Harmon systems and sound insulation systems?

What about pedestrians?

I think telephonic conversation is equally distracting during driving a car. This is just a new easy way for cops to make 100 rs per biker.
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Old 19th February 2018, 10:43   #13
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Default Re: Hyderabad: Crackdown on drivers using headphones

There is a big difference between using a bluetooth car mobile communication and using ear/headphones while riding or walking on the road. Where the car driver would still be able to hear most of the sounds around him, the riders or pedestrians block almost all of it with the use of ear/ headphones. Next thing you see is them walking/ swaying right under the tyre of the city bus, their favorite track goes on their life ends. Whereas in case of car the occupant inside is much more safer and the harm he may inflict to others using in car bluetooth for communication would not be as extreme.

Though I would agree that a similar punishment must be imposed for people using their mobile phones directly for communication or chatting while driving to be fair to the riders.

Last edited by wrongturn : 19th February 2018 at 10:55.
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Old 19th February 2018, 10:51   #14
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Default Re: Hyderabad: Crackdown on drivers using headphones

Wow, an interesting thread, and something that has got me thinking (yes, it does happen on occasion). Some of my opinions are listed below.

In my two-wheeler riding days, I have often used noise-reducing earplugs (like this) to take the sharp edge off wind-noise and loud air horns. I wonder where the H'bad police force would stand on this. Visually, it does consist of a wire running from ear to ear, so would seem to be earphones. However, it doesn't play music, so it actually isn't earphones. But it cuts down sound, so does it diminish my ability to drive? Or by reducing excessive noise, does it improve my ability to drive?

Taking a step back, any time rules like these are brought into force, I would first like to see the traffic police department provide (verified) statistics that show that such an action was warranted. These rules might start off with the best of intentions, but quickly veer into blind enforcement, or worse, harassment to meet targets. So I'd like to see something that shows more thought has gone into it. Also, the police need to run this past some sanity checks to identify cases that might not have been considered (e.g. my example above).

All too often, such decisions are made subjectively or based on seat-of-the-pants logic, which IMHO is not right. I'm sure we can all bring anecdotal evidence to the table about being cut off by someone with earphones, but framing and enforcing such rules has to be factual, and not emotional/subjective.

Thanks to SS-Traveller for sharing the text of MV Act 184. Reading that surprised me, because of its very open-ended nature. In turn, that just means that the traffic police's ability to catch offenders is only limited by their creativity.

By that basis, we might potentially start seeing things like - flipping down the sun visor within city limits is illegal, as it blocks the view of traffic signals, (or) people taller than 5 ft shouldn't sit in the rear center seat as it blocks the mirror, and so on.

Make no mistake, I support enforcement of better driving/riding. So I'm not supporting people using headphones (though I did this myself years ago in my younger and stupider days). Our roads are dangerous enough, and we need measures to improve road safety. All I'm calling for is a more holistic and cohesive approach to achieving this.

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Jail time is a bit too excessive and sends out the wrong message. Worst case should be a steep fine.
While I agree that jail time is excessive for such preventative measures, I'm not fully convinced about the steepness of fines being an option. I'm not even going to take two extremes of India (rich vs. poor) - but consider someone who's started work in a company vs. someone working 20 years - is there a fine that is steep enough for one without being either acceptable/crippling for the other?

Alternate options are to either have time-bound penalty points on the DL, a day-fine system (good luck making that work for the 95% who don't file returns!). The other option is punishment via time - either just making the offender spend time by showing up in court, etc., or better still, spend time via community service.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post
When will our country simply make the testing procedure for procuring a driving/riding license in the first place, more strict to begin with?
Agreed, it needs to be a privilege that is earned, and one that can also be lost (temporarily via penalty points, or permanently for grievous offences).

Last edited by arunphilip : 19th February 2018 at 10:53.
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Old 20th February 2018, 16:00   #15
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Default Re: Hyderabad: Crackdown on drivers using headphones

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Originally Posted by wrongturn View Post
There is a big difference between using a bluetooth car mobile communication and using ear/headphones while riding or walking on the road. Where the car driver would still be able to hear most of the sounds around him, the riders or pedestrians block almost all of it with the use of ear/ headphones.
What is the difference? These days you can be in any D segment car with good sound damping, turn the volume up to 20 and enjoy being cut off from the rest of the world. Similarly, not all earphones out there have active or passive noise cancellation and most of them still filter a lot of sound through to the wearer. This is all just relative and I feel once again it is unfair that the lower economic classes are being affected by this rule more than the segment of riders/drivers who are dangerous to the rest of road users.
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