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Constant crackdowns = fewer accidents

The more rigorous the police crackdown and the more the number of drink-driving arrests, the fewer the number of road accidents, show statistics of the past three years with the Mumbai traffic police.

mumbai Updated: Apr 12, 2012 01:59 IST
Puja Changoiwala

The more rigorous the police crackdown and the more the number of drink-driving arrests, the fewer the number of road accidents, show statistics of the past three years with the Mumbai traffic police.

In 2009, the traffic police caught 14,681 motorists and bikers driving under the influence of alcohol.

In 2010, the offenders caught increased to 16,290 and in 2011, it further escalated to 16,324.

Correspondingly, the number of road accidents declined: in 2009 6,741 accidents were reported, fewer accidents — 6,144 — were recorded in 2010, and the figure dropped further to 5,118 accidents in 2011.

These accidents vary from minor to fatal accidents.

“The drink-driving campaign has been successful. The general feedback has been that more people are now aware of the hazards of driving after alcohol consumption and that many people refrain from drinking and driving, thereby leading to fewer number of accidents,” said Brijesh Singh, additional commissioner of police (traffic).

The traffic police started their campaign to combat drink driving on June 20, 2007, after the city saw a spate of incidents where motorists had caused deaths and serious injuries while driving under the influence of alcohol.

In November 006, for instance, Alistair Pereira had mowed down 15 labourers sleeping on a pavement in Bandra; seven were killed while eight others sustained serious injuries.

The campaign included recurrent nakabandis, random checks, spending time in jail and suspension of licence, which acted as deterrents against drink driving.

The traffic police have revived this campaign after the past fortnight witnessed at least four drink-driving accidents, one of which has claimed a life.

“Nakabandis to catch drunk drivers are usually conducted thrice a week, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The timings and places are kept random so that offenders are caught off guard. But since the recent surge in drink-driving accidents, we have ensured that there are nakabandis every night, that go beyond midnight,” said Mote Patil, senior inspector of the prosecution branch of the traffic police. Officials said that there are 25 traffic divisions in the city and each division organises a minimum of two to three nakabandis, depending upon its area.

“Nakabandis can act as strong tools to combat the offence. But as the recent past shows, accidents continue to take place. It is the public who needs to cooperate with the police efforts, accept social responsibility and not become party to the offence,” said Vivek Phansalkar, joint commissioner of police (traffic).