This article originally appeared on VICE India.
We know it’s important to wrap it before you tap it, but in this bizarre case, Delhi cab drivers have been keeping condoms in their first-aid kits because they think they’ll be issued a fine for not doing so.
It all started when an Uber driver named Dharmendra claimed to have been fined for not carrying a condom. Turns out, he was actually given a fine for speeding, but this still didn’t stop the spread of rumours that not carrying protection was a punishable offence, with cab drivers hopping on to the bandwagon ever since.
"I have heard that it is necessary to keep condoms, so I always keep at least one,” said Ramesh, another cab driver, who claimed that while traffic cops hadn’t caught him for not having a rubber, he was questioned about whether he carries condoms, during his fitness test.
In response to this, a traffic official said, "No driver is asked if he's carrying condoms during fitness tests at our vehicle checking centre. However, NGO workers reach out to drivers outside the centre to educate them about safe sex. It is possible that drivers have developed the habit of keeping condoms from there."
Meanwhile, Kamaljeet Gill, president of the Sarvodaya Driver Association of Delhi, a drivers union, told The Times of India, "It is compulsory for all public service vehicles to carry three condoms at all times, which is kept inside the first-aid box.” While cab drivers are still kinda unsure why they’re carrying condoms, turns out it’s not to keep them or their passengers covered, but because they’re also a great first-aid hack. Gill wants cab drivers to carry condoms so they can be used in case of a broken bone or fracture. "In case a person starts bleeding, the condom can be used to stop it. Similarly, if someone has a fracture, a condom can be tied around the area until he reaches a hospital. There are non-medical benefits of condoms as well. It can hold up to three litres of liquid,” he said. A few drivers have also pointed out the benefits of carrying rubbers, whether it’s to stop the leakage of a burst car pressure pipe or to cover shoes when it’s raining.
Under the recently imposed Motor Vehicles Act (MVA), people keep getting mistakenly fined for the most random shit, including a bus driver who had to pay a penalty for not wearing a helmet. That’s probably why cab drivers are even more afraid of paying the increased penalty, making them more vulnerable to such rumours. However, while the MVA says that all taxis should carry a first aid box with sterilised finger dressing, body dressing, hand or foot dressing, two large and three small burn dressings, two 15 gram packets of cotton, a bottle of tincture iodine, sal volatile, one empty bottle fitted with dropper for the eyes and one medicine glass, there is no mention of condoms. Still, considering how often cab drivers get traffucked, it’s probably for the best that they’re carrying some kind of protection.
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