No More Smoking While Driving in New Delhi

By: Dwyane Thomas

In an effort to lessen road accidents and bad driving, the New Delhi City High Courts imposed a ban on the use of mobile phones and smoking while driving.

New Delhi roads are said to be amongst the most dangerous roads posing great threats to human lives. Their Traffic Commissioner, Qamar Hamed said, "Anything that distracts the attention of drivers is dangerous. The human mind cannot do two things at simultaneously." This measure garnered eager support from the members of the community saying that the said measure will control the chaos on the city's dangerous roads.

Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat assured the public that the police force will be very vigilant and are ready and eager to enforce the court decision. However, many drivers have their doubts as to the effectiveness of the measure since the police force in the city is said to be easily bribed and as such evading the supposed penalty is easy. Add this to the fact that Delhi roads are oftentimes jammed by numerous trucks, buses, cars, motorcycles, motored rickshaws and bicycle-pulled rickshaws and the many pedestrians and those sacred cows and elephants, it would be quite an impossibility to enforce the measure 100%.

Still, the intention of the High Court is noble for they wish to cut down on the death toll on the city roads which have risen to more than 19,000 annually.

The ban on cigarette smoking while driving is the first of its kind in the world and is gathering great support in several U.S. states. Vermont lawmakers consider a blanket ban on any and all activities that could distract the driver while driving. However, several opponents of the "distracted driving" bill claim that road accidents do not show clear evidence of being caused by either using mobile phones or smoking while driving. They contend that the cars themselves are the problems. To this, car parts like the Mercedes fuel filter, and other important engine parts like the radiator must be checked at a regular basis.

There appears to be other countries, like those in Europe, Japan and South Africa that have anti-smoking laws. In Ireland, smoking in enclosed places, workplaces, and pubs are illegal. Furthermore, smoking inside homes and the cab of a truck if such are the work places of the person are also prohibited.

The New Delhi Court decision will be starting its implementation on April 9 and will cover only the 14 million dwellers in New Delhi.

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