In the wake of the Janhavi Gadkar drink driving accident, the traffic police have increased the number of check points across the city, and extended the duration of the drives. This has led to an already under-staffed force getting stretched well beyond its limits.
Earlier, constables would check for people driving drunk between 11pm to 1am at various spots in the city. Now, the drive has been extended till 1.30am, traffic police officers said, and is being conducted at several new spots.
“Motorists who drive under the influence of alcohol have identified spots where the traffic police impose nakabandis, and have learnt to avoid them. Hence, for the past few weeks, the nakabandi spots have been changed. The checks are being conducted at many new points too,” said a senior IPS officer.
In the scenario, the short-staffed traffic police are being assisted by the local police stations.
Deputy commissioner of police Dhananjay Kulkarni, the spokesperson of the Mumbai police, said after the accident on the Eastern Freeway on June 9, commissioner Rakesh Maria has asked the local police stations to help the traffic police in the drink drive campaign, and extend it for as long as possible into the wee hours of the morning.
Despite several initiatives to curb drink driving, a traffic official said, it continues to be one of the biggest menaces on the city’s roads, as people refuse to change their ways.
The traffic police have asked managers at bars and restaurants to provide drivers to patrons too drunk to drive, but not many ask for the service, the officer said. With the help of NGOs, several seminars have been conducted in housing societies and educational institutes to create awareness about the dangers of the habit, he added.
“Motorists have no fear of the law and believe they can get away by paying small bribes,” said a traffic police officer.
“Simply penalising offenders will not help. People need to realise they can harm not just themselves, but others too, by taking the wheel when drunk. We will take the help of the media and screen short films to create awareness about the issue,” said Kulkarni.