Listening of loud music while driving is an offence?

Listening of loud music while driving is an offence?

Author: Prabhuti Mandhyan, Law College Dehradun

Rash driving, drunken driving, distracted driving, listening to loud music while driving add as fuel towards increasing accidents in our country. In 2018 India recorded its highest surge in road accidents leading to which Motor Vehicles Act which actually governs laws relating to transportation an amendment was introduced i.e  Motor Vehicles Amendment Act 2019 in which higher penalties were introduced for breaking transportation rules. Listening loud music does not include stricter laws but it is responsible for impairing the mind in a way that it would be difficult for the driver to concentrate on driving solely, moreover listening to music through headphones and earphones can distract the attention of the driver.

One study performed by Warren Brodsky found that drivers who listened to music with a tempo of 120 beats per minute were more likely to drive recklessly and experienced twice as more accidents than those listening to slow songs. Another study from Israel investigated the effects of different types of music conditions on driving performance in 85 young novice drivers. Participants took multiple trips with one of the following:

  • preferred music (a playlist from home: most often pop, rock, dance, hip-hop, house, and rap styles)
  • alternative calming music (no lyrics with a slow tempo and low volume)
  • no music

They found young drivers prefer to drive with their own music. However, their driving performance worsened with their preferred music, including making more traffic violations and errors, engaging in more aggressive driving behavior, and increasing their risk for distraction and drove safer when they listened to calming music or no music at all.

Further loud music along with increasing proximity of road accidents would also reduce the ability to detect sirens, ambulances, horns, etc which ultimately lead to physical injuries, heavy losses, loss of lives, penalities etc. The Road transport ministry has notified detailed regulation for drivers which include certain do’s and dont’s, violation of these norms filed under Rules of Road Regulations is an offence under Motor Vehicle Act.

The Government has framed Motor Vehicles (Driving) Regulations,2017, under Section 118 of the Motor Vehicles Act. Section 5(10)   of the regulation puts a bar on the driver to ensure that loud music is not played in a vehicle. Now under 177A of the Motor Vehicles Act, the driver is punishable for an offense committed under any regulation made under Section 118 of the Act  Driver can be penalized with a minimum of five hundred with a maximum of one thousand rupees since Motor Vehicles (Vehicles) Regulations 2017 comes under the ambit of Section 118 of the act, with the introduction of Section 117A in the Act by Section 59 of the recent amendment, it is ensured that loud music listeners do not go unpunished, safer and stricter rules are imposed to reduce traffic accidents However imposing stricter rules would help to curb accidents in a lighter but in a certain way.

Name: Prabhuti Mandhyan

Course: B.A.LL.B(Hon.s)

Institute: Law College Dehradun ( Faculty of Uttaranchal University)

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