Drink driving accidents highest in UP
Uttar Pradesh recorded the highest number of road accidents due to drink-driving in 2017 while Bihar saw a steep decline in such cases from 2016, according to data cited by Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
About 3,336 road accidents were recorded under the drink-driving category in Uttar Pradesh in 2017, out of a total of 38,783. Bihar saw a decline from 1,457 road accidents in 2015 to 593 in 2016 to nil in 2017, according to the data.
In July 2017, the Supreme Court had ordered a ban on liquor shops within 500 metres of state and national highways. Two years earlier, in 2015, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar had introduced prohibition in the state.
“The report and data vindicate the Bihar government’s decision to enforce prohibition. This decision of the Nitish Kumar government has not only helped society but has protected the life of many,” Bihar information and public relations department (IPRD) minister Neeraj Kumar said.
Bihar transport secretary Sanjay Agarwal said the number of road accidents in Bihar due to drink-driving had become negligible since prohibition was enforced.
Apart from Bihar, prohibition is in force in Gujarat, Kerala, Nagaland, Manipur as well as the Union territory of Lakshadweep. These states recorded few accidents caused by drink-driving in 2017 — Gujarat (65), Kerala (113), Nagaland (157), Manipur (44) and Lakshadweep (0). Nagaland recorded two cases in 2015 and 13 in 2016.
“Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, provides for punishment of imprisonment or fine or both for the offence of drunken driving. All state governments/UTs have been requested to ensure that no licence is issued to liquor vendors along national highways. Further, they have also been requested to review cases where licence has already been given to liquor vendors along national highways and to take corrective action,” Gadkari said in Parliament.
According to Piyush Tewari, CEO, Savelife Foundation, “The figures are massively underreported as most road crashes that are not fatal are not investigated properly. Even the ones that are fatal can only be investigated for D&D (drinking and driving) if the accused is made to undergo testing within six hours of the crash.”