Centre passed a strict law last year to increase punishment, penalty for drunk driving.

 

 

New Delhi: Drunk driving led to over 38,000 road accidents over the last three years and this, despite the Central government passing a stringent law last year to increase punishment and penalty for drunk driving.

The data provided by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to the Rajya Sabha earlier this week highlights that cases of drunk driving and drunk driving related accidents increased in 2019 compared to 2018.

As per the ministry’s data, 12,256 road accidents occurred in 2019 which were related to drunk driving, against 12,000 such cases reported in 2018.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data also shows that around 2% of the total road accidents that happen in India are due to drunk driving. In 2019 alone, around 3,000 people lost their lives in road accidents that were related to drunk driving, while 6,675 people were left injured in such drunk driving related road accidents.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had amended the Motor Vehicles Act last year in Parliament to increase the penal provisions for violation of rule by motorists. The Act, which was implemented from September last year, also made provisions for the strictest of punishment for drunk driving.

Under the new amended Motor Vehicles Act, the penalty for drunk driving was increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000 for first offence and to Rs 15,000 for second offence. The amended law also made provision for imprisonment up to two years for repeat offenders.

However, traffic police officials The Sunday Guardian spoke to said that people are slowly starting to adhere more to the laws and that the increased penal provisions have, in fact, led to a lot lower number of cases of drunk driving in the metropolitan cities.

“In Delhi, over the last few months, drunk driving has almost become negligible, you can say it is due to the pandemic, but I would say even before that, people were being cautious about not taking out their car when drunk. This has also happened here because Delhi Police has been very strict about checking the menace of drunk driving. We were carrying out surprise pickets at places to nab offenders and this had instilled fear among the people; also, the provisions have now become very strict. Once one is caught, we have orders not to listen to anything, but impound the vehicle and initiate court challans,” a Delhi Traffic Police officer who is not authorised to speak to the media told this correspondent on the condition of anonymity.

Data from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways also brings out details from the states and which states are recording a high number of cases of drunk driving and drunk driving related accidents.

According to this data, Uttar Pradesh accounts for the highest number of drunk driving related accidents. In 2019 alone, the state has recorded 4,496 car accidents that were related to drunk driving. In 2018, the state recorded around 3,595 drunk driving related accidents.

Uttar Pradesh is followed by Punjab, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh. All these states have recorded more than 1,000 cases each of drunk driving related accidents in just last year alone.

The national capital region of Delhi has some reduction in the number of cases of drunk driving last year compared to 2018. As against 333 cases of car accidents related to drunk driving reported in Delhi, the national capital recorded 215 accidents due to drunk driving last year.

Gujarat, which is a dry state, recorded 47 car accidents due to drunk driving, while the state recorded over 100 drunk driving related accident cases in 2018. Bihar, another dry state, reported 10 cases of drunk driving related accidents in 2018, but in 2019, Bihar reported zero cases of drunk driving related accidents.

The coastal state of Goa, also a party destination for youngsters in India, recorded one of the lowest numbers of drunk driving related accidents in the country. In 2019, the state recorded just six such incidents and in 2018, it was just eight.

Andhra Pradesh, on the other hand, has been able to reduce the number of drunk driving related accidents significantly in 2019. The state reported over 1,300 accident cases that were related to drunk driving in 2018, it managed to bring this figure down significantly in 2019 when it recorded just 127 such cases.