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Old 1st July 2019, 08:11   #1
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Default Kerala Police declares talking on phones using Bluetooth & handsfree as a punishable offence

Saw this post on Facebook page of Kerala Police, shared by Kerala Motor Vehicle department.

Kerala Police declares talking on phones using Bluetooth & handsfree as a punishable offence-screenshot_20190701075824066_com.facebook.lite.png

Kerala Police declares talking on phones using Bluetooth & handsfree as a punishable offence-screenshot_20190701075357551_com.facebook.lite.png

We have audio and touchscreen infotainment systems with Bluetooth, steering mounted phone controls, microphones etc. in our cars which we cannot use anymore!!!

According to the article below, there is no specific rule/act saying Bluetooth/handsfree use is illegal.

Kerala Police declares talking on phones using Bluetooth & handsfree as a punishable offence-screenshot_20190701081947475_com.adobe.reader.png

Last edited by knightrider_7 : 1st July 2019 at 08:24.
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Old 1st July 2019, 08:17   #2
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Default re: Kerala Police declares talking on phones using Bluetooth & handsfree as a punishable offence

I am expecting a ban on drivers talking to a co-passenger as well.

Wondering why they had to include handsfree via Steering wheel controls into this.
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Old 1st July 2019, 08:20   #3
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Default re: Kerala Police declares talking on phones using Bluetooth & handsfree as a punishable offence

How are Kerala Police going to figure out if you're using your car's Bluetooth connectivity!? Handheld phones or Bluetooth earphones can at least be seen.
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Old 1st July 2019, 08:24   #4
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Default re: Kerala Police declares talking on phones using Bluetooth & handsfree as a punishable offence

The citizens of Kerala are the most educated guys in India, are the cops not so?

This is bizarre.
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Old 1st July 2019, 08:57   #5
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Default re: Kerala Police declares talking on phones using Bluetooth & handsfree as a punishable offence

Let's not forget what these same guys said last year. This news article is from May 17, 2018.

No Law To Specifically Book Drivers Using Cell Phones, Rules Kerala High Court

"The Kerala High Court has ruled that certain sections of the penal code cannot be applied to cases of drivers using phones while at the wheel. That said, using your phone while driving is still dangerous and should never be encouraged." (Source)

Related tbhp thread
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Old 1st July 2019, 09:30   #6
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Default re: Kerala Police declares talking on phones using Bluetooth & handsfree as a punishable offence

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geo_Ipe View Post
How are Kerala Police going to figure out if you're using your car's Bluetooth connectivity!? Handheld phones or Bluetooth earphones can at least be seen.
I was caught few years back. I was signaled to stop at a junction by a cop. Upon asking the reason he said that they received a wireless message from a cop at the previous junction saying they saw me talking (I was driving alone so they assumed that I was using bluetooth). I politely said that I wasn't talking but singing to a song on the radio and showed my phone's call list. He laughed and let me off.

So they do track everything that's happening.
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Old 1st July 2019, 09:49   #7
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Default re: Kerala Police declares talking on phones using Bluetooth & handsfree as a punishable offence

  • CCTV or Surveillance Cameras capturing Single Driver - CHECK
  • Call Data Records from Mobile Service Providers between Point A and B at a particular time that hint switching towers between 2 parties (One of the vehicle is moving) - CHECK
  • Motor Vehicle Department scanning vehicle number against registered mobile numbers in their Database and pairing vehicle number captured- CHECK
Automation and integration of the above process - Cheque from the vehicle owner to the cops as fine!
Too much isn't it? But hey, they are bothered more about small fish in large numbers than a large ones in small and it can happen in future too .
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Old 1st July 2019, 10:07   #8
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Default re: Kerala Police declares talking on phones using Bluetooth & handsfree as a punishable offence

I think this is a retrograde step. Our son uses the BlueTooth most of the time to keep in touch with his hospital. I do not see how this effects his effectiveness as a driver. Yes, he can be distracted, as as been rightly pointed out, so can talking to a co-passenger.
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Old 1st July 2019, 10:40   #9
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Default re: Kerala Police declares talking on phones using Bluetooth & handsfree as a punishable offence

I might be in the minority, but I for one feel that this is a good move. The legal aspect seems a little grey currently and the Motor Vehicles Act needs to be updated to include bluetooth usage as well to make the interpretation of the law consistent across the country. I have come across innumerable instances where the car in front of me is driving slowly and weaving across lanes and when I overtake the person, the person driving is invariably physically on the phone or has a bluetooth device connected and is busy talking.

Before everyone piles on the Kerala cops, please remember that cops in Bangalore have often stopped and fined car drivers for using bluetooth devices to take calls. The IT guys are notorious offenders in this regard and are easy prey for the cops. I have seen this happen myself. So its not just that the Kerala police are interpreting the law in this manner.

Where I fear the police might interpret things unreasonably is when it comes to bikers and the bluetooth communication devices that are used when connected to helmets. Now these units can receive calls and that would be the same as a person receiving a call through the car's bluetooth enabled head unit. However the helmet bluetooth units also allow you to pair to a group of similar units and allows riders to talk to each other over bluetooth while importantly not being a phone call. The cops obviously cannot see you talking if you are wearing a full face helmet but this bluetooth to bluetooth communication can give rise to a problem for bikers if overenthusiastic cops are involved. This might be a good time for seasoned motorcyclists to meet the higher ups in the police department and share their concerns. Hopefully better sense prevails in this regard.
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Old 1st July 2019, 11:03   #10
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Default re: Kerala Police declares talking on phones using Bluetooth & handsfree as a punishable offence

This can turn problematic in many ways - another potential area of accessories taking away your attention from the road is GPS navigation on your phone/dashboard. A mobile holder is now very common on bikes and at times necessary to traverse through city and highway roads. It's a common scene on several bikes these days. It also, potentially, takes some of your attention from the road; at times possibly more than a Bluetooth based call.

While a good zone to be active on, I believe this is an area that requires much more delicate case-by-case management than just brute-force based rules. For example, I'd say having video calls while riding/driving is a strict NO-NO. Or holding the phone under your ear supported by your shoulder or under the helmet is another offense definitely.

Meanwhile a side benefit of this is going to be the more usage of full-face helmet for sure. One can definitely sneak in a bluetooth headset or a handsfree under the helmet without being noticed.
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Old 1st July 2019, 11:26   #11
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Default re: Kerala Police declares talking on phones using Bluetooth & handsfree as a punishable offence

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post
I might be in the minority, but I for one feel that this is a good move. The legal aspect seems a little grey currently and the Motor Vehicles Act needs to be updated to include bluetooth usage as well to make the interpretation of the law consistent across the country. I have come across innumerable instances where the car in front of me is driving slowly and weaving across lanes and when I overtake the person, the person driving is invariably physically on the phone or has a bluetooth device connected and is busy talking.
The thing is Neil, if your intention is to curb distractions around a driver, then you might have to ban FM radio, Music players and Passengers as well. I might be singing along to my favourite song or might be discussing next weekend plans with my family. Because they are also technically sources of distractions. And more distracting than a phone call over BT. As for that matter, work.

So where does one draw the line?

Using hands free doesn't mean risk free. It comes with a certain amount of risk. But the idea is to bridge the gap between this and the driver by educating him about how to use the BT effectively. Not cut him from outside world.




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Old 1st July 2019, 11:40   #12
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Default re: Kerala Police declares talking on phones using Bluetooth & handsfree as a punishable offence

Quote:
Originally Posted by VaidhiR View Post
The thing is Neil, if your intention is to curb distractions around a driver, then you might have to ban FM radio, Music players and Passengers as well. I might be singing along to my favourite song or might be discussing next weekend plans with my family. Because they are also technically sources of distractions. And more distracting than a phone call over BT. As for that matter, work.

So where does one draw the line?

Using hands free doesn't mean risk free. It comes with a certain amount of risk. But the idea is to bridge the gap between this and the driver by educating him about how to use the BT effectively. Not cut him from outside world.
VaidhiR, I absolutely agree that being on a call is not the only source of distraction for motorists. That said, the law, right or wrong as it may be, states that phone usage is not permitted and the Kerala (and Karnataka to my knowledge, there may be more) cops interpret the rule to include usage of bluetooth devices.

We all are in agreement that there is a risk element with using phones while driving, we just seem to differ on the magnitude of the risk. Maybe because I am a frequent motorcyclist, I am more worried about others being on the phone and not paying attention, thereby putting me at an exponentially higher risk than if I were in a car.
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Old 1st July 2019, 11:57   #13
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Default re: Kerala Police declares talking on phones using Bluetooth & handsfree as a punishable offence

In my opinion, they should have banned hands-free from the car, instead of asking the customer not to use a feature provided by the car manufacturer.
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Old 1st July 2019, 12:15   #14
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Default re: Kerala Police declares talking on phones using Bluetooth & handsfree as a punishable offence

This is a can of worms. What if I'm driving in Kerala, talking to myself about morons on the road, the way I usually do? Or if i'm rapping away to my favorite hip-hop song?

Every time a new law comes in or when a new enforcement drive occurs, there are unintended consequences for sure. I remember a famous Chennai case where a court threw out a "talking on the phone while driving" challan - the car's driver had ear-ache and had a palm on his ear when the cops challaned him. Thankfully since the cops couldn't prove that he had spoken on a phone at the time, going by his phone's call logs, the case went in the driver's favor.
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Old 1st July 2019, 12:30   #15
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Default re: Kerala Police declares talking on phones using Bluetooth & handsfree as a punishable offence

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Originally Posted by locusjag View Post
This is a can of worms. What if I'm driving in Kerala, talking to myself about morons on the road, the way I usually do? Or if i'm rapping away to my favorite hip-hop song?
This actually happened to me this past weekend in chennai. The road was blocked around Anna university and I was happily rapping along with Tupac. First the cop thought I was arguing with my wife.To which he gave me a lot of advise that I shouldn't fight with my wife. Then he insisted I was on the bluetooth feature in the car.

I know there is no ban as yet and definitely not in Chennai. Took a couple minutes to convince him I was rapping...Thankfully he didn't ask me to drop a verse in front of him.
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