Brijesh Singh, additional commissioner of police (traffic) says that despite stringent enforcement, drink driving cases can be reduced only if people take the initiative, decide against indulging in driving after alcohol consumption and become more socially responsible.
Despite rising awareness against the crime, there are still several cases involving drunk drivers Laws and legal provisions all are in place. However, drink driving is more a question of social behavior and individual responsibility. Each day, at least 6,000 people are caught in the city by traffic policemen for violation of traffic regulations. If we call ourselves a responsible city, how do so many people get caught? And these are not even 1% of the total offenders.
Do you think the recent approval by the Union cabinet to enhance fines for traffic violations as part of changes in the Motor Vehicle Act will be a deterrent to offenders?
The changes are due to be implemented. However, we do not know how helpful they will be. In foreign countries, the fines for traffic violations are really high and the system works. Even in our city, I think that economic disincentives will work favorably, but to a degree. There are so many people who would not mind paying Rs100 for a traffic violation and get away with it. But if the same fine is increased to Rs1,000, the offender will think twice before violating traffic regulations again.
What, in your opinion, can be done to further deter people from indulging in drink driving?
I think deterrence will be possible through two stages – awareness and enforcement. We have been focusing on creating awareness against the crime and have deployed several measures. To illustrate, since most of drink driving offenders are youngsters, we organise awareness sessions in colleges, where we meet students and speak to them about the hazards, the legal repercussions, etc. of drink driving. The point is to create an atmosphere for people understand the message and drive it home. And if they still indulge in such crimes, enforcement will come in as a deterrent.