A traffic policeman tells HT City what young Delhiites say when caught for drink driving. Starting today: ‘None for the Road’ — our campaign against drink driving.
‘I have been serving the Delhi Traffic Police for the past 10 years. During my postings in South Delhi and now close to India Gate, I have seen endless cases, especially of youngsters, driving in a badly drunk state. Some of the people we stop late at night are so inebriated that they can’t even stand properly.
When we ask them to take the breath analyzer test, it’s tough for them to even exhale into the machine. Some are so young, they look like school students. The moment we tell them that they are not fit to drive, they get scared and start vomiting, or start threatening us with things like, ‘Do you know who I am?’ or ‘Do you know who my dad is?’ They immediately start calling up their ‘connections’ on their cell phones.
The problem is worse on occasions like Holi or New Year’s eve, but on the roads around five-star hotels and nightclubs, you can see this every evening. Delhi Traffic Police often undertakes late night patrols to catch such people but they seldom realise how dangerous it is.
It is not only that people from affluent families get involved in drinking and driving. There have been instances where boys have been caught riding a motorcycle while totally sloshed, and they don’t even have a single penny for the fine. But not everyone is irresponsible.
Last week, I came by a car in which the man, in the passenger seat, was totally drunk, so his wife, who was not drunk, was driving. I checked her licence and let them go, happy to see some sensible people on the road. Delhi’s drivers are anyway rash when compared to those in other cities, and a few drinks make them potent killers. Thankfully, I’ve never witnessed an accident where someone died, but the way people here drink and drive can prove fatal.”
Did you know?
The minimum drinking age in Delhi has gone down from 28 to 19 years since 1990, and in another 5 to 7 years, this figure may come down to 15 years.
Annually, around 2000 Delhiites under the age of 21 die from incidents that involve underage drinking.
Nearly 33.9% of those below 16 years of age can easily procure alcohol from Government authorised vendors.
*Community against drunken driving 2010 survey