‘Bars must offer drivers’ | delhi | Hindustan Times
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‘Bars must offer drivers’

A Delhi Police survey has revealed that 95 per cent of patrons of bars drive on their own after the binge, reports Harish V Nair.

delhi Updated: May 17, 2009 23:37 IST
Harish V Nair

Do you go to a bar in the evening, drink to your fill and drive home on you own? If you do, you are part of a nasty statistic.

A Delhi Police survey has revealed that 95 per cent of patrons of bars drive on their own after the binge.

For high-end bars, the figure stands at 80 per cent, with only 20 per cent using chauffeur-driven cars.

The first-of-its-kind survey was conducted on the orders of the Delhi High Court.

The survey also included popular bars in GK-I’s M Block market and Saket.

Justice JR Midha on March 27 had asked Delhi government to examine if it can be made mandatory for all bars and discotheques to keep 'replacement drivers' as is prevalent in some foreign countries.

Replacement drivers are ones who offer their services to customers who are unable to drive back on their own.

This move was initiated on a suggestion by advocate A.J. Bhambani, an amicus curiae (a lawyer appointed to assist the court on a serious issue).

Bhambani advised that since the establishment (pubs) profits from the patron (customer), it is their responsibility to ensure safety of the patron and of innocent people on the road.

“Make it mandatory”

When asked what progress had been made, lawyer Vikas Pahwa representing DCP (Licensing) told the judge on Friday that letters had been written to Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India, National Restaurant Association of India and all the licensed discotheques “soliciting their opinion on the concept and whether it is practically workable”.

But an angry Justice Midha questioned the need to invite suggestions from hotels when the government could easily enforce it through an order.

“See how many people are losing their lives on a daily basis. Why do you want to unleash these killing machines on the road?” the judge asked.

Bhambani too intervened to say that Section 28 of the Delhi Police Act empowered the commissioner to issue any notification in the interest of public peace and safety.

Pahwa told the court that he would take instructions and make a submission in this regard on May 18.

Highway liquor shops to go?

Another step being considered by the court is a ban on liquor shops along highways.

“Just as you don’t have liquor shops near schools and religious places, licences should not be given for liquor shops along national highways,” says Bhambani.

The court termed the suggestion “important”.

The traffic police said, “The suggestion needs to be examined and implemented by ministry of road transport and highways if found technically feasible.”