When it came to dealing with drunk drivers, the traffic policemen were gentlemen first and officers later.
Around 88 commuters whose vehicles were impounded for drunk driving on Friday night were sent home in auto-rickshaws and radio cabs specially arranged for them by the traffic police officers.
"The Motor Vehicle Act (1988), under which they were prosecuted, also states that an alternative mode of transport should be provided to inebriated drivers if they are not accompanied by a 'sober' driver. So we arranged auto-rickshaws and cabs for them," said Satyendra Garg, joint commissioner of police (traffic).
For the first time since the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) came into effect in 1988, more than 484 drivers were prosecuted for various traffic offences by being directed to appear in court on Saturday morning, instead of being let-off after a minor fine ranging from R100- R600 on New Year's eve.
"Most of these prosecutions - 114 - took place in the southern range. Around 108 drivers were fined in the northern range, while the western range saw 80 drivers being prosecuted," said a senior traffic police officer.
He said about 45 prosecutions in central and 30-odd in east Delhi made up the smallest chunk of those booked for violations ranging from tinted glasses to defective number plates.
"A driver who was reeking of alcohol requested me to sit beside him as he drove to gauge his driving skills, while a Delhi University student who seemed to be heavily drunk begged us to let him go because he was afraid his mother would get angry," the officer said.
More than 3,000 drivers have been prosecuted for various offences since the MVA was more rigorously implemented in August till December 2010. "Since August, more than 720 of those found violating traffic norms have been awarded jail terms and 580 have had their driving licences suspended. Most of the cases are yet to be decided at city courts," Garg said.