Railways may ban drivers from using mobile phones while driving

After banning use of phones while driving, the government may make it illegal for railway drivers to use cellphones on duty.

Railway board chairman Vinay Mittal indicated to this effect, while answering a question from DMK MP Vasanthi Stanley during a meeting of the standing committee on tourism and transport. In a meeting of the committee held last month, railway safety and the separation of the office of the commissioner on railway safety from general railway services was discussed in great detail .

It generated a lot of heat, when suddenly Stanley posed this question to Mittal: “Do you know that even in the smallest corporate office people are supposed to deposit their phones before they get to work? So how come railway drivers, ferrying passengers and responsible for their safety are allowed cell phones on board?”

Mittal admitted that as of now railways did not have any rules which precluded use of cellphones in the train engine. He reportedly told the committee that the matter was discussed in some detail in a meeting of the railway board and railways could not see itself enforcing a ban in a very strict way. But they were toying with the idea of technically disabling phones while trains were in motion, making it impossible to use. “That would however interfere with passengers’ use of cell phones too,” he reportedly said.

Stanley wanted to know how engine drivers remained in contact “before there were cellphones?” The use of cellphones on trains by train personnel is banned in the United States for national rail lines and the state of California banned it in 2011, after a train crash in Los Angeles, which was directly attributed to texting by a driver while the train was in motion. No such accident, has however, been reported in India.


Published in: on November 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

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