A substantial number of drivers are caught driving under the influence of alcohol but only a few are sent to jail for the offence. In fact, there has been a drop on this count this year when compared with last year.
The Delhi Police say only imprisonment can deter drivers from driving drunk.
Till August 31 this year, only 2,873 of the 19,468 persons caught for drunk driving — 14% — were sent to jail. Last year, during the same period, a total of 4,893 of 16,062 drunk drivers — 30% —were jailed, police said.
The traffic police said the decline in awarding jail terms had primarily triggered the trend of driving under the influence of alcohol.
“We have taken up the matter with the magistrates concerned and hope they will deal strictly with violators soon,” said Anil Shukla, additional commissioner of police (traffic). A few months ago, the traffic police had proposed that the magistrates award a minimum jail term of at least one day to drunk drivers.
Drunk driving is one of the main reasons of fatal road accidents, the police said.
According to the traffic police, imprisonment is the only deterrent, as the existing Motor Vehicle Act prescribes a fine of just `2,000 or six-month imprisonment or both for the first offence, and `3,000 fine or up to two years’ imprisonment or both for a subsequent offence.
The Delhi traffic police, in association with pubs and bars, liquor and beverage dealers and NGOs, are planning to start a campaign against drunk driving.
“We will generate awareness among people frequenting bars and pubs about the consequences of drunk driving. A valet service will be started for drinkers at pubs and bars,” said Shukla.