Rise in drunken driving cases worries KSRTC

Rise in drunken driving cases worries KSRTC

The rising number of drunk driving cases has become a headache for KSRTC, which boasts of having entered Limca book of records for winning over 200 awards including the ones for safety.

As per the data obtained from sources at the corporation, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) recorded 89 drunk drive cases in 2017-18, which is a huge jump from the 33 cases detected in 2013-14. The numbers do not include the buses run by two other corporations in north Karnataka (NEKRTC and NWKRTC).

The data indicate that higher number of cases was the direct result of the intensified inspection drives. KSRTC has 8,779 buses and runs about 8,169 schedules every day. The number of employees tested jumped from 14,360 employees in 2013-14 to a whopping 2.01 lakh in the previous financial year.

Responding to a question on safety, KSRTC Managing Director Shivayogi C Kalasad agreed that every detection is serious and the corporation has been improving both routine and structural measures to check the menace.

He said the Corporation has suspended several employees and dismissed some of them. “We have taken the issue very seriously. This is reflected in the intensified checkings we have done. Apart from seeing it as a disciplinary issue, we are also taking measures to bring awareness among drivers from the social perspective. We are taking into account their work pressure and family pressure as well,” he said.

In the last two years, the KSRTC has punished 141 employees and fined 22 others for various violations. Officials said some of the employees who have been dismissed have gone to court challenging the action.

The KSRTC has also boasted of a good track record with the safety of buses, with rules stipulating that vehicles that have run for more than
8.50 lakh km have to be scrapped.

However, the source pointed out that a drunk driver can lay into waste all the efforts. In 2016-17, 24 persons died and 1,290 injured in accidents involving KSRTC buses.

“Unlike private vehicles, an accident involving a KSRTC bus poses risk to lives of many people as many buses carry about 60 passengers,” he said.

When asked about the possibility of subjecting drivers to alcohol test before commencing a trip, Kalasad said such an initiative requires thorough planning.

“We have to consider different timings of drivers working on short and long routes. Such an initiative needs to be discussed with officials before drawing a plan,” he said.