While the number of cases of drink driving during the New Year Eve saw a dip compared to last year, the fact remains that more than 52% of motorist booked for driving under influence were in the age group of 21 to 30.
Surprisingly, however, the age group believed to be even more risk-prone, between 18 to 20, was largely well-behaved, with only seven being charged for drink driving during the special drive undertaken by the traffic police between December 21 and December 31 to ensure roads remain safe in the festive season.
During the 11-day drive, the traffic police booked 2,010 people for drink driving, of which 1,055 were aged between 21 and 30 years. A close second were those in the age group of 31 to 40 years, with 674 such motorists being booked.
“People in the age group of 21 to 30 have a tendency to take risks without bothering about their families and the pedestrians. They want to enjoy life and this is their way of doing it, which puts many lives at risk,” said a senior traffic police officer.
Anu Bitre, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), had words of praise for youngsters in the age group of 18 to 20. “It is assumed that youth in this age group will flout more rules compared to others. But this time, many of them were found driving without consuming alcohol. They were out to have fun and they did it without consuming liquor. It is admirable that they decided to stay off drink driving this year,” he said.
The drive against drink driving was kick-started by the traffic police in June 2007 after several road mishaps involving people driving under the influence of alcohol. Since then, the traffic police have registered 74,146 cases of drink driving. While 41,940 of them have been awarded simple imprisonment, the traffic police have suspended 36,978 licenses of repeat offenders.
Meanwhile, home minister RR Patil on Monday called for a holistic approach to combating the menace. “Even after a stringent drive against drink driving, no conspicuous decrease in seen in the cases as 739 peopled were booked on the [December] 31st night alone. It’s the state's responsibility to create public awareness and educational institutes, organisations, should also join in the campaign,” he said at a road safety seminar.