Only 3 female traffic cops in Delhi, no woman fined for drink driving

Updated on Mar 24, 2018 07:25 AM IST
Under the present law, woman motorists cannot be pulled up for inspections by policemen in the absence of female officers. Male officers posted at traffic pickets have no authority to stop a car with a woman driver.
Traffic policemen at ITO in New Delhi.(Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo)
Traffic policemen at ITO in New Delhi.(Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Not a single woman has been fined in the last five years for drink-driving in the national capital, a fact that doesn’t necessarily reflect a remarkable resolve to always remain sober behind the wheel. This month, one woman has been detained, and that was after she crashed her car at high speed while out on a joyride, killing two.

According to Delhi Traffic Police data, between 2013 and 2017, a total of 1.4 lakh challans were issued to motorists for driving under the influence. In 2013, traffic police fined 26,633 people for drink driving, followed by 29,584 in 2014.

In 2015 and 2016, the traffic police caught and fined 25,958 and 28,006 motorists for the offence. Last year, the number was 29,850.

Remarkably enough, all the offenders, who had to fork over a fine of Rs 1,000 each, including suspension of licence for three months, were men.

That doesn’t mean women aren’t driving in an intoxicated state, it’s just that there aren’t enough female traffic police to check and prosecute drunk woman motorists, Delhi Traffic Police officers said on condition of anonymity.

Under the present law, woman motorists cannot be pulled up for inspections by policemen in the absence of female officers. Male officers posted at traffic pickets have no authority to stop a car with a woman driver.

“We need to account for the safety of women officials in our departments as well. The women officials in the Delhi Police are less, but the numbers are fewer in the traffic department,” a senior traffic officer explained.

Piyush Tiwari, founder of road safety NGO SaveLife Foundation, said Delhi Traffic Police seems to be living in the 1960s when lack of personnel was an acceptable excuse. Several countries invest heavily in electronic enforcement tor check offences such as speeding and red light jumping so that human resources can be used to check violations such as drunk driving.

Because pickets to catch DUI offenders are mostly put in place after sundown, it becomes doubly difficult to pick female officers for traffic police teams.

“We have to be careful while handling women drivers especially after sundown. When the pickets are placed around posh pubs we can clearly see that the women driving are drunk, but we have no authority to even ask them to roll their windows down, let alone issuing a challan,” a traffic police officer said.

At present, the traffic unit only has three women constables out of a total of about 2,000 personnel, all of whom are posted in central Delhi.

Joint commissioner of police (traffic) Garima Bhatnagar said women, by nature, tend to adhere to traffic rules. This is reflected in the fewer number of challans issued to women for other traffic violations such as speeding, red light jumping and using gadgets while driving, she said.

“We also need to take into consideration that there are fewer women drivers on the road,” Bhatnagar said.

On 11 March, two college students were killed on a joyride with friends when the woman driver who was allegedly drunk lost control of the car and crashed it into a road divider in north Delhi. She was booked for causing death by negligence.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Soumya Pillai covers environment and traffic in Delhi. A journalist for three years, she has grown up in and with Delhi, which is often reflected in the stories she does about life in the city. She also enjoys writing on social innovations.

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