SINGAPORE — Talking on a cell phone while driving already is a no-no in many places. Now Singapore police want to stop an even more dangerous use of mobile phones: text-messaging while behind the wheel.
The police recently announced that drivers who text could be jailed up to six months and fined 1,000 Singapore dollars ($570). Drivers in this tightly controlled city-state can be banned from driving for six months for any violation.
Almost 80 percent of Singapore's 4 million people own mobile phones, and text-messaging is wildly popular. Schools have barred cell phones from exams because students have been caught using text-messaging to cheat.
After a reader of the local Straits Times newspaper complained of seeing a bus driver texting while ferrying passengers, police spokesman Phillip Mah wrote to the paper to remind the public that the activity is just as illegal as talking on a hand-held cell phone while trying to drive.
"Motorists who are driving alone can receive urgent calls through a hands-free device but should keep their conversations short," Mah wrote.