Manama: Saudi social media users said they were surprised by a decision to ban all cell phones while driving in the kingdom, including using Bluetooth or any hands-free device.
The reactions surged after a Saudi citizen asked the Traffic Directorate on their Twitter account whether the laws allowed him to drive and use the mobile through a Bluetooth or earpieces.
The citizen said that in either case, his hands would be free and would be holding the steering wheel.
The answer, also posted on the Twitter account, was that traffic violations included holding a mobile phone or not focusing on the road while driving, Saudi news site Al Marsad reported on Wednesday.
The answer that basically barred talking on the phone while driving, hands-free or not, triggered shocked reactions, although some users said they fully agreed with the traffic authorities.
“We understand when the holding of mobiles is banned and we completely agree when drivers engage in texting or in surfing through applications, but there is no sense in not allowing the Bluetooth technology or speakerphones,” one user said.
Another user under the moniker of Saudi said that all new cars were equipped with Bluetooth.
“We are well aware that accidents are caused by texting while driving, not by talking through a speakerphone or Bluetooth,” Saudi posted.
For Omar, the excessive application of some rules could backfire.
“We are not aware of other countries banning Bluetooth calls, and we do look forward to the interior minister reversing this decision,” he posted.
Those who supported the ban said that figures about accidents warranted the decision.
“When you know that there are around 80,000 people who were crippled in accidents in 2017, you will applaud such a decision,” he posted.