Lives of Divyanshu, Karan and Siddharth could have been saved if all the stakeholders — parents, bar tenders and traffic police — the society as a whole had carried out respective responsibilities, experts say.
Chief executive of Indian Alcohol Policy Alliance (IAPA) Dr Hari Haran points out, “There is a need to organise workshops for different target groups to sensitize people on the issue of drunken driving in general and underage drinking in particular.”
Echoes Springdales Principal Amita Wattal, “The youngsters will always want to experiment. The onus is on the adults.”
“Parents should not give excess money to children. They should and must also know where their children are going in the evening, who their friends are, etc.,” she observes. Springdales conducts regular workshops on such issues wherein both the students and parents are present, she adds.
“Secondly, if and when teenagers do reach a pub, why should they be allowed to enter? Why no action is taken against the bar tender who serves them liquor?” Wattal asks.
The traffic police regularly takes action against people taking to wheels under the influence of alcohol. However, no action is taken against those who sell liquor to underage by any authority.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) S.N. Shrivastava claims, “This year, we have prosecuted more than 3,400 persons for drunken driving and this includes a large number of teenagers. (But) we cannot take action in every lane and every bar.”
President of Community Against Drunken Driving (CADD) Prince Singhal has a suggestion to this. “Underage drinking and irregular minimum age law contribute to nearly 38 per cent fatalities. We need to have legal provisions to check underage drinking right at the point of sale.”
“Why not make drunken driving a non-bailable offence in case of death or grievous injury? This will help establish seriousness of the crime,” Singhal suggests.