Unsteady behind the wheel

Drunken Driving

The drunk MBA student, Gurudarshan, who rammed his car into the compound of Cubbon Park at Tiffany’s Circle recently is another telling evidence that potential killers behind the wheel are on the prowl on City’s streets notwithstanding severe checks and stiff penalties that police claim to be invoking against the menace.

Aware : The Bangalore Traffic Police say that people are beginning to realise that driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous.

The Bangalore Traffic Police say that not less than 600 cases of drunken driving are booked during weekends and the weekly tally runs up to 1,000.

They also claim that awareness campaigns are making a difference and people are beginning to pay attention to the importance of not driving when under the influence of alcohol.

Metrolife spoke to the Bangalore Traffic Police and people to understand why the number of cases of drunken driving does not seem to dip.

According to the statistics available with the traffic police, 60,000 cases of drunken driving were registered in 2011 and about 56,000 in 2010.

A spot fine of Rs 2,000 is levied on the offender and a person, who has been caught thrice for the same offence, will have his or her licence suspended.

Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic and Safety) M A Saleem points out that the checks have been tightened. “It is the educated who violate the rules the most.

There are ways and means to drive home safe after consuming alcohol but people don’t seem to explore the option,” he says.

On being asked if there were enough alcohol breath analysers in the City, Saleem informs that there are approximately 125 analysers in 39 police stations across the City. “We’ve placed an order for 200 additional equipment,” he adds. Will that make a difference in curtailing increasing cases of drunken driving? “We will do all we can to clamp down on the offenders,” he says.

A study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) confirms those aged between 20 years and 35 years are prone to drunken driving and such cases are most visible between 8 pm and 2 am.

 “Most of the accident cases brought to the hospital are because of drunken driving.

Even those as young as 16 and 18 years are falling prey to alcohol,” explains Dr Gururaj, who is with the department of epidemiology. He points out, “The availability of liquor, increased purchasing power among the people and change of social norms have led to the increased consumption of alcohol.” People who have been caught for drunken driving once don’t want to take another chance.

They say that they would either hire a taxi or stay back home. Tobin Roy, a banker says, “I think today there’s more awareness among the people. I would prefer paying a double fare or hiring a taxi at night after consuming alcohol. It’s better than paying a fine.”

Mirshad, an entrepreneur, feels that staying back home and drinking or organising house parties is a better option than getting drunk outside. “It’s cheaper to stay back home rather than having your licence cancelled. The cops have done well to induce a fear in the people against drinking and driving,” he sums up.

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