Most drunk drivers are youngsters

Officers expect the numbers to rise once their drive gains momentum over the next 10 days when the festive season will peak. People down drinks and get behind the wheel even on working weekdays, police said. The campaign against drunk driving, which has been taken up by all traffic police divisions in the city, has registered a steady increase with the number of offenders peaking on Saturday night with 114 cases. The number of people booked for driving drunk on weekdays too is worryingly high ­ upwards of 45 on each day last week, and as many as 69 on Wednesday , December 16, taking the total tally for the year to more than 4,600 as on December 20. The traffic police said the number will cross the 5,000 mark by the year-end.

Most offenders have been caught by Hadapsar, Kondhwa, Nigdi, Bund Garden, Dattawadi and Bharati Vidyapeeth traffic divisions. The traffic police have taken action against 629 drunk drivers in the last 20 days.

Most offenders have been caught by Hadapsar, Kondhwa, Nigdi, Bund Garden, Dattawadi and Bharati Vidyapeeth traffic divisions. It is an indicator of a high level of alcohol being consumed not only in upmarket pubs and clubs of the city , but also by students, youngsters, as well as those driving on the highways.

Deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Sarang Awad said, “With the holiday season, there is a general sense of revelry. Many people step out to enjoy with friends or relatives who may be home for a few days. However, driving drunk reflects a totally callous attitude towards rules. Nobody has the right to hurt innocent road users simply because they are inebriated. Most of those who are caught by us are youngsters and there really seems to be no difference between weekends and weekdays anymore.“

Statistics compiled over the past months indicate that on an average 500 people are caught for drunk driving every month.The actual number of offenders, according to the police, is much more with many managing to hoodwink them.

Senior police officials admit that a chunk of fatal accidents in the city are actually the result of someone taking to the wheel in an inebriated state, which unfortunately , does not come on record in case of road deaths happening because of crashes or collisions.

Offers and schemes by alcohol companies and restaurants serving liquor such as 1:1 and even big contributory parties among friends and youth are also at the root of the worrying statistics, points out Prince Singhal, founder president of the Delhi-based national Community Against Drunken Driving (CADD).

“It’s really a grim situation and based on our study , drinking has actually gone up during the weekdays and it usually tends to be the highest on Tuesday , much more than even the weekends. To check the problem, enforcement needs to be increased, all through the day and week. Amendment of the law to count drunk driving as a serious offence could pave the way for fewer cases,“ he said.

At present, the fine is up to Rs 5,000 or jail up to six months for first drunk driving offence.Drivers are tested for alcohol concentration in their blood stream using breath analyzers.Driving licenses of those testing positive are impounded by the traffic police and sent to the Regional Transport Office for suspension. The offender must also appear in a judicial court and pay the requisite fine, besides the legal fees.

While the current permissible limit is 30mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, the Road Transport and Safety Bill, currently pending in Parliament, proposes to reduce the limit to 20mg, while increasing the fine amount to as much as Rs 10,000 (for first-time offenders) going up to Rs 30,000.

TIMES VIEW

The cases of drunk driving have crossed the 4,600-mark this year with 10 more days of festivies to go.What is more alarming is that these cases are getting registered even on weekdays.Despite regular drives by the traffic police, many people do not seem to care for their own safety as well as that of other road users. No amount of policing will save lives of those callous about following basic rules like not driving under the influence of alcohol.
Source : TOI

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