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Is It Legal To Talk On Bluetooth While Driving?

To put it simply, there is no specific law stating that using or talking on Bluetooth devices while driving is illegal. But keep in mind, there are other things to consider as well, like in many parts of the country, you could be fined when using a hands-free Bluetooth device, and that totally depends upon the officer who’s stopping you on the road. Sounds a bit interesting, right? Well, if you are intrigued enough about this already, then keep on reading because we are about to make things a lot clearer for you. Here we go.

Talk On Bluetooth While Driving

What Does The Law Say?

In India, the use of mobile phones while driving is regulated through the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988. Overall, the Act bans holding or using a handheld wireless telephone set, listed as an activity that reasonably ‘diverts the attention of the person from the safe driving of the vehicle. Further, Section 184 penalizes driving, in a manner that may endanger human life or cause hurt or damage property. In other words, using mobile phones while driving is prohibited. But, nowhere in the Act does it mention Bluetooth devices. Though, the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 2019 provide further details. These rules pertain to how the devices are physically handled. This suggests that hands-free devices might be okay, as long as you’re not physically handling the phone. However, since Bluetooth devices aren’t explicitly mentioned, interpretations can vary, and enforcement might be all over the place.

What Are Recent Legal Developments?

A formal legal breakthrough came when the Kerala High Court ruled in 2019 that the police is not allowed to lodge a case merely because drivers are using a Bluetooth device. This decision created the amusing possibility of people wearing Bluetooth headsets in public but failing to lodge a complaint against those using the same hands-free devices on the roads. Plus, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has mentioned that the government is thinking about making it officially legal to use hands-free devices while driving. This would bring India in line with international standards, where hands-free communication is typically allowed.

Different Places, Different Rules

How these laws are enforced in different Indian states and cities is another matter altogether. Why? Well, Bluetooth enforcement varies from applying to all possible devices to being selective. For example, in Bengaluru, there have been cases where people were fined for using Bluetooth devices while driving. Meanwhile, some cities might be more relaxed, focusing more on handheld device use rather than Bluetooth.

What Happens If You Get Caught?

Note that in many places fines for hand-held electronic devices run from ₹1,000 to ₹5,000, and after the first offense increases. Fines for Bluetooth use are less common, although in Bengaluru drivers have reported being pulled over and fined for Bluetooth. In other places in India, this is less common. The broad interpretation of distracted driving laws allows for these fines, even if the law doesn’t specifically mention Bluetooth devices.

Safety First, Legal or Not

Although the legal standing of the use of a Bluetooth device while driving remains somewhat blurry, it is clear that it is not safe. There is a large amount of evidence to suggest that any conversation on a hands-free mobile device is a potential cognitive distraction, thus reducing the driver’s attention and reaction time. So, while the act of using a Bluetooth device might be legal, it is not safe. Drivers should be aware of these risks and try to minimize phone use while driving. Most modern cars come with in-car systems which are meant to facilitate safer communication and could be an alternative for those who need to stay connected while driving.


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