Despite the Mumbai police’s initiatives to curb the menace in the city, the number of deaths caused by drink driving has increased over the previous year.
Last year four people lost their lives in four accidents involving drink driving; so far this year, 11 people have been killed in such accidents.
The latest fatal accident involving a drunk driver occurred in September at Mahim. A woman was killed and four others were injured after a Bandra resident driving an Innova under the influence of alcohol rammed into them.
It was in 2007 that Mumbai traffic police began cracking down on drink driving. Over one lakh people have been caught driving under the influence since then.
The Mumbai Police have collected Rs23.49 crore in fines for drink driving over the past seven years, and have suspended more than 45,000 driving licenses between June 2007 and October this year. The data was part of an affidavit filed in Bombay high court in mid-November this year.
So far, over 54,897 drivers have been imprisoned after conviction and licences of 46,535 motorists have been suspended, police records show.
But there are numerous challenges before the police, one of which is the paucity of equipment.
The Mumbai police have only 90 breath analysers. This is an insufficient number, several officials say.
Last year the traffic police wrote to the DGP’s office, asking for 92 more breath analysers. Only 12 were sanctioned. The police are trying to get GPS-enabled high-end breath analysers with attached camera. Officials say these breath analysers could help them to prosecute the accused, because their measurements could be used as evidence. This year, the police have collected Rs2.45 crore in fines for drink driving till September.
10,700 booked as cops increase patrolling hours
So far this year, 10,700 drivers have been caught for driving under the influence of alcohol.
For the last three months, the traffic police have extended their nightly checks for drunk drivers from 1.30 am to 3 am. Senior officials said that the locations of these drives are changed regularly so as to catch drunk drivers by surprise.
Moreover, the traffic police have also deployed women constables to check on women drivers taking the wheel after drinking.
On June 9, lawyer Janhavi Gadkar, 35, was driving an Audi on the wrong side of Eastern Freeway when she crashed into an oncoming taxi, killing two occupants and injuring four others. Gadkar was drunk beyond permissible limits at the time of the accident, said police. She was arrested. The sessions court granted Gadkar bail on August 5.
Following this headline-grabbing crash, the police also took measures to bring women drivers under scrutiny.
After the accident, HT also found that there was only one woman among 6,980 drink drivers booked in the six months before the Gadkar accident took place. The police attributed the low number of cases to the shortage of women police in the force.
Traffic police are hopeful these measures will significantly bring down the number of accidents caused by drunk drivers.
Panjabrao Ugale, deputy commissioner of police, traffic, said, “Through this order, we aim to curb the incidents of drink driving. Traffic police will man nakabandi points until 3 am, as per the order.” Police said they have been conducting stringent checks on major roads and highways in the city.