Next time when you drive home after a few drinks, be careful. It's not only the traffic policeman who is waiting for you. There could be more.
Ensure that when a policeman asks you to breathe into an analyser, or alcometer, that the straw where your lips touch is new. There is a fair chance of contacting diseases like hepatitis or even HIV if it's a used straw.
Sources in Delhi police said many a time - especially during drives against drunk driving - traffic policemen do not bother to change the disposable straws.
The police have 200 alcometers that are used during drives against drunk driving.
Confirms Rohit Baluja of the Institute of Road Traffic Education, a non-profit organisation on road safety: "Reusing the disposable plastic straw of an alcometer is a common practice here."
A senior doctor at Aiims said, "There are chances that continued use of straws may spread infections. To check the spread of diseases, it should be made mandatory for the cops to dispose of the used straw immediately after every check."
"If an alcometer touches the skin of a person infected with hepatitis or HIV exhaling into the straws, he could transmit it if the next person has open wounds in the mouth, such as ulcers or cracked lips," said Dr HS Hira of Lok Nayak Hospital.
But Satyendra Garg, joint commissioner of police (traffic), said his department had given clear instructions to the men on the street to remove and destroy the straws after every test.
"Sometimes, we even give the straw to a drunk driver as a memento along with the challan."