After the start of the campaign against drink driving in June 2007, more than 50,000 drunk drivers have been put behind bars, while more than 1 lakh cases have been filed by the traffic police for the offence.
Meanwhile, the proposal of the Mumbai traffic police for 92 new breath analysers is still ‘under consideration’ at the office of the Director General of police (DGP), two years after it was sent. Even more alarming is the fact that the Mumbai traffic police, who control traffic in the city, are running their campaign against drink driving with just 54 breath analysers, many of which do not function properly and need repeated repairs.
When the city traffic police were carrying out drives against drink driving around New Year’s Eve last year, around 93 breath analysers were working, with the DGP’s office having sent 12 new machines for the campaign. Of the 93 machines, only 54 work at present.
A senior official from the traffic department said that many times, the constables have to rush to the service centre to get the machines fixed. “Most of the time, the breath analysers start malfunctioning because of overuse. For now, we are managing. Our proposal for new ones is pending with the DGP’s office and we hope to hear from them soon,” he said.
A source in the DGP’s office said the police are trying to get state-of-the-art breath analysers that are fitted with cameras and GPS, so that they can collect evidence that can be used in court. A few years ago, a similar proposal to acquire breath analysers with cameras fell through, the source added.
Action on drink driving in the city has yielded revenue for the state government. For instance, in 2013, out of the Rs20 crore that the traffic police collected by way of fines, Rs3.21 crore was raked in from drink drivers. In 2014, the police collected more than Rs20 crore in fines, of which Rs3.70 crore came from those driving under the influence of alcohol.