The Mumbai traffic police on Saturday rolled out their new high-tech breathalysers to curb drink driving. The devices, called Alcovisor breathalysers, can automatically take a photograph of the motorist whose breath is being analysed and upload the data to a server. They cost around Rs 60,000 each and come with GPS, Wi-Fi and 3G.
Alcovisor breathalysers can perform both ‘passive’ and ‘active’ blood alcohol tests. Active mode requires mouthpieces, whereas passive mode does not. Using a passive mode breathalyser without mouthpieces is more convenient but produces less accurate results. However, both tests are improvement on the current practice, in which constables ask motorists their names and smell their breath for alcohol.
In the active test, motorists must blow into a straw attached to the device. The device automatically takes a picture of the motorist and uploads to a main server at the traffic police headquarters.
“The device will flash a green light if the blood alcohol content is below the permissible limit and a red light if it is over the limit,” said Deepak Talekar, deputy manager at Uniphons Envirotronic Private Limited, which is delivered the devices to the traffic department.
The police have started to test 10 of the 56 new devices at Colaba, Worli, Bandra and Vikhroli.
Each can store the results of up to 10,000 tests. After a two-hour charge, the devices can be used for seven hours at a stretch.
“There will be a record of everything, including the location, so there will be hard evidence against drunk drivers,” said S Koregaonkar, an inspector at traffic police headquarters. He added that the new devices will almost make it easier to detect repeat offenders.
The traffic police have 93 old breathanalysers, which do not have location tagging and a high-tech interface.
As of October 13, the traffic police have registered 15,498 drink driving cases this year. There have also been 69 drink-driving accidents this year, including 12 that were fatal. Last year, there were 13 fatalities from 88 drink-driving accidents.