This New Year’s Eve, don’t drink and drive. No, really do not drink and drive, because there’s no escaping the cops or bribing your way out.
Armed with a fresh stock of digital breath analysers, Mumbai’s traffic cops will fan out across the city on the night of December 31 in a campaign against drink driving. The hi-tech breathalysers will not only digitally analyse breath, but also send the results to a server with a photograph of the motorist.
It’s a foolproof trap.
Milind Bharambe, the joint commissioner of police, traffic, told HT the 56 digital breath analyser kits were procured by the department earlier this month and will be put to use for the first time on New Year’s eve. “For the first time in the country, electronic breath analysers will be used. These kits are not only an upgrade over the traditional analog analysers, but are also completely tamper-proof.”
Bharambe also said apart from being highly accurate, the new breath analysers will rule out any chance of malpractice by constables trying to cash in on the rush during the celebrations.
“The recent increase of the fine for drink driving and other traffic offences has raised fears of a corresponding rise in corruption by traffic policemen. As the new analysers are fitted with cameras, the photograph and alcohol level of the motorist will be uploaded in the server seconds after a motorist blows into it. The motorist can try to bribe his way out, but it will be futile,” he said.
Mumbai has 34 traffic zones, and each zone has been given two breathalysers. “We distributed them based on the profile of the areas —places where drink driving cases were reported more frequently are better equipped. Efforts are on to provide the remaining nine zones with modified analysers too,” Bharambe said.
Over the years, the Mumbai police’s anti-drink driving campaigns on New Year’s Eve have borne mixed results as seen in the number of drivers caught. In 2011, 739 drivers were caught; the number fell to 523 in 2014, but rose again to 705 in 2015.
With the new system, there will always be a record and photograph of offenders, which would help identify frequent offenders. “For second-time offenders, the fine amount of Rs2,500 will be doubled. However, for those repeating the offence for the third time, we will be writing to the RTO for cancellation of their licenses,” said Bharambe.