GUWAHATI, Dec 5 � Thanks to the inaction of the traffic police, cell phone users behind wheels are emerging as a threat to life and property in and around Guwahati. A number of accidents have already been reported, and more will take place as the trend catches on among drivers.
A traffic police constable at the TC School intersection, who spoke to this newspaper and preferred to remain unnamed, agreed that people in increasing numbers are using cell phones while driving. But he was under no strict orders to book such drivers. �There has to be senior officers on site if drivers using cell phones have to be penalised, otherwise they do not care for our presence�, he remarked.
Some signs urging people not to use cell phones while driving have come up at a few places, but it is evident that the message has not motivated the targeted audience.
In a number of Indian cities there are stiff fines imposed on drivers using cell phones, and Delhi Police have gone the extra mile to ensure the ban. Hundreds of drivers are booked every day and face penalty. However, the lack of similar drives has allowed offenders in Assam to move around in their vehicles and undermine public safety.
The problem has added to the peril in congested parts of the city, where vehicular movement is slow and quick response of drivers becomes imperative. In such situations, drivers busy on their cell phones are a perfect recipe for disaster, as has been proved in cities across the world.
Along with errant drivers, pedestrians using headphones are also becoming a nuisance for others in the city streets. Young women and men, listening to music or taking calls using headphones, are shut off from ambient sound, and often pose a challenge to drivers.