This watering hole is laden with risks

BUZZED

Cars cruising slowly in some posh Delhi marketplace with blaring music and windows rolled down is not an unusual sight.

But this revelry reaches another level when these merrymakers  indulge in a swig or two of liquor as they drive. This, despite the fact that last year, Delhi government had decided to take strong action against those found drinking alcohol inside their vehicles at public places, with a fine of Rs 5,000.

“I have been drinking inside my car for more than a decade now. You tell me where should I drink?  With the kind of culture we have I cannot drink at home, our City doesn’t provide less expensive restaurants to drink and the places which are inexpensive are filthy. So, I prefer to drink in my car and I don’t find anything wrong in it,” explains Bhaskar Arora.

The punishment for this offence could be imprisonment for six months or a fine of  Rs 5,000 or both, and  for a subsequent offence committed within three years, with imprisonment which may extend to two years.

According to statistics compiled by the Delhi Police 9,092 offenders were sentenced to simple imprisonment last year; while the figure was 12,262 in 2010.  Motorists whose driving licenses were suspended were more in 2010 (9,358 offenders), compared to 2011 (8,217 offenders).

“I remember that my friends and I used to drink every day outside our college premises in my car. We did it for the sake of enjoyment, but people behaved as if we were criminals. What is the problem if I drink and go home without harming anyone?” enquires Bharat Rana, an engineer.

According to a notice issued by Delhi Traffic Police, impairment by alcohol is an important factor in causing accidents. From various studies conducted in low income countries, it has been found that alcohol was present between 33 per cent and 69 per cent of fatally injured drivers, and between 8 per cent and 29 per cent of drivers involved in non-fatal crashes.

Drivers and motor cyclists with any level of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) greater than zero are at higher risk of a crash than those whose BAC is zero.

“I know the consequences but I am not afraid as I know my limits. I cannot stop enjoying my life because of this fear,” concludes Shivesh Tiwary.

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