Dr Nimesh Desai, Head, Dept of Psychiatry and Med Superintendent, IBHAS in an interview to Hindustan Times.
Why is drunk driving still prevalent despite the Delhi Police’s efforts at curbing it?
It is still prevailing because it is treated as a moral issue instead of a disease with socio-legal overtones. From those who consume alcohol socially to those for whom it is an addiction, drunk driving has to be seen in relation to the overall alcohol-use spectrum and there is enough evidence available to push for stricter laws to curb it.
Where do you think the police’s approach is lacking? What kind of a strategy would work better?
A twin-pronged strategy needs to be adopted to curb the menace. Stricter enforcement of existing laws and legal control needs to be coupled with drunk driving as a health and welfare issue. Those who are addicted to alcohol and are repeat offenders should be given proper treatment to ensure that the situation improves as a whole, permanently.
But why are such offences increasingly being committed by underage drivers?
Quite simply, the parents are responsible. There is, however, a certain cavalier attitude that prevails when one comes from an affluent socio-economic background as opposed to a humble one. This is what illustrates the need of a more reformed criminal justice system where the guilty are punished so that the punishment acts as an effective deterrent regardless of the social background of the offender.