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Thursday, April 08, 2021

Chp 855. "Wearing Mask While Driving" rule

As the second wave of CoVid-19 hits India with the highest recorded infection rate reported almost every day for the past one week, many states have started issuing new restrictions and even curfews again.

Delhi too declared a 10 PM to 5 AM curfew yesterday, which will be in effect till April 30th. The state also issued a mandatory mask rule while driving or travelling inside a vehicle.

This rule covers every vehicle and every person, so even if you're driving alone inside your own car, you'll have to wear a mask. And of course the outrage was expected. "WHY DO I NEED TO WEAR A MASK IF I AM ALONE INSIDE MY CAR!!???" the good people of Delhi cried out, with the usual MC's and BC's thrown in between the words of course, after all, it won't be Delhi without those :D.

Yeah I know, it sounds stupid to wear a mask when you're the only one inside your vehicle, until I realized why this rule makes sense.

I've been living in Mizoram since the outbreak of CoVid-19 in India last year. Our State Government had issued this same "Driving with mask" order back in March 2020, and it is still in effect as of today! Hence, we've been driving with our masks on (even when we're the only one inside our vehicle) for more than a year now.

We too complained and questioned the logic initially. Why do we need to wear a mask if we're the only one inside our car and the windows are rolled up too? At a quick glance, it may seem silly to do that. Some people even compared this rule to being locked up inside your house alone and still having to wear a mask.

That's a cute analogy, but not quite correct.

First of all, your vehicle may be a private vehicle, but once it plies on a public road, it has to follow the rules of the public, just like how you have to follow different traffic light and road sign rules, so comparing it to a private room inside your house is not exactly accurate.

Secondly, the role of a mask is not just to prevent you from being infected, but to prevent you from infecting others. You may be driving from point A to point B with no passengers around you, but the cops do not know that. They don't know if you've just dropped off somebody, or you're about to pick up somebody. They're not the oracle.

And they can't just stop every single vehicle and ask for your driving itinerary or medical history like whether there were anybody else in the car or if you had been vaccinated or had a recent positive contact etc etc. Not only is that a waste of resource and time, but it also increases the risk of transmission. The police are also our frontline workers too and they have to be extremely careful all the time.

Hence, the safest and most viable solution is to just have a blanket rule that covers everybody, regardless of whether you're driving alone or not.

Initially, we Mizos too found this pill hard to swallow. But we followed the rule obediently and got accustomed to it. And as of today, Mizoram has the least number of CoVid-19 patients or deaths among all other Indian states.

Of course it would be wrong to solely attribute the reason why we have a low infection rate to this "driving with mask" rule, as we also followed other rules strictly. But it is one of the many struggles that got us to where we are today. Obedience pays off in the long run.

Now if you have a personal issue against wearing a mask in itself, then that's a different issue. If you're one of those people who believe CoVid-19 is a hoax or masks are ineffective or vaccines are spawns of the Devil orchestrated by Bill Gates, then you're probably wasting your time reading this article, and I'm wasting my time too for trying to change the mindset of a conspiracy theory nutjob. But if you're one of the more sane and logical people who wears a mask in public anyway, then I must say it only takes a little bit more effort to wear it when you're alone inside your car too.

I know it sounds silly at first to wear a mask when you're driving alone, but hey Delhi, if Mizoram can do it for one year, I'm sure you can do it for one month too. Trust me, the result will far outweigh the effort. So let's follow the rules and continue fighting this pandemic together.

Take care everyone. Mizohican out.

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