Come November 15, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) drivers won’t be able to carry their mobile phones while on duty, reported The Times of India. The decision by the state corporation follows several complaints from passengers that drivers use their phone while on duty putting passengers’ safety at risk. Officials said that bus drivers will have to deposit their phones at lockers in their respective depots.
Currently, speaking on the phone while on duty attracts a fine of Rs 3,000 for BMTC bus drivers. Previously in August a similar directive was issued by the management urging drivers to switch off their phones before they got behind the wheel. However, this time officials say that it will be enforced strictly and violating drivers will be penalised with suspension.
“We have received several complaints from passengers that some drivers are making calls, browsing social media and watching videos,” a top transport official told The Times of India. The official said that in case of emergency, the driver’s family members can contact the bus conductor, who will be allowed to keep their mobile phone.
The ban has not been well received by bus drivers at large. One bus driver was quoted saying that BMTC could have taken action against those using phones on duty rather than putting a blanket ban.
Between April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2017— a total of 370 persons haddied in accidents involving BMTC buses in the last five years and the corporation has paid Rs 53 crore in compensation to the next of kin of the deceased.
In order to encourage safe driving, BMTC regularly awards drivers with recognition and incentives and claim that they thorough health check-ups are carried out to prevent accident prone situations.