Kathmandu, December 3

The next time the mobile phone rings in your pocket or you like to call someone while driving, be informed that traffic cops might be watching. People using cellphone while driving could be booked under the Motor Vehicle and Transport Management (Sixth Amendment) Rules, 2016.

According to Rule 23 of the law, the traffic police may take hold of driving licence of the offender and recommend the Department of Transport Management to suspend the license as per Section 60 of the 1Management Act, 1993.

If it is proved that a driver has violated the terms required to be observed by the him/her under this Act for more than five times, the competent authority may suspend the licence of such driver for up to six months.

Earlier, the offenders were only liable to pay a fine of Rs 1,500 and there was no provision for suspension of licence in the case of using mobile phone while driving.

SP Lokendra Malla, spoksperson at the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, warned that anyone caught using mobile phone while driving would be punished under the new provisions.

According to MTPD, reckless driving caused by cellphone use has become one of the major causes of road accidents. Cellphone distractions cause nearly four per cent of the total road accidents in Kathmandu Valley.

Talking or texting on a mobile phone while driving increases the risk of accidents. Using cellphone while driving involves removing of one hand from the steering wheel or handle and taking eyes off the road to reach for a phone or dial a phone number.

“When a driver uses mobile phone, s/he has to divide his/her attention between driving and conversation. In such situation, the driver is more vulnerable to road accident,” he reasoned. Use of mobile phone while driving is rampant.

On an average, 50 drivers are caught talking on mobile phone and are brought to book daily. “Talking or texting on a cellphone while driving is very dangerous. Stop or park your vehicle on a safe roadside If you feel that it is necessary to use it,” suggested a traffic police official.