With bars, restaurants closed due to lockdown, no drink driving cases since April in Pune
The Pune traffic police have not reported any drink driving cases since April, when the lockdown had been implemented which in turn resulted in closure of bars and restaurants.
However, the first case of fatal drink driving was reported on Sunday from Balewadi when retired police inspector Sanjay Nikam mowed down a worker under the wheels of his car in an inebriated condition.
The accident which occurred at Mamata Square in Balewadi left four others injured. Nikam (58) was arrested by Chatuhshrungi police and charged with culpable homicide. Nikam during his service with the city police has worked with the Social Security Cell (SSC) and traffic control branch.
According to the data available with the traffic branch, as many as 752 drink driving cases have been lodged across different divisions between January and March this year, however, this stopped as soon as the lockdown was invoked. Joint commissioner (law and order) Ravindra Shisve said, “No action has been taken in relation of drink driving cases since the Covid outbreak.”
In 2019, a total of 13,239 cases of drink driving were reported in the city.
Last year, six traffic divisions - Koregaon Park, Wanowrie, Aiport, Hadapsar, Warje and Bharati Vidyapeeth emerged at the top with the highest number of drink driving cases between January 1, 2019 and December 22, 2019. As many as 13,239 cases have been registered in 2019 in all the 24 traffic divisions under Pune police commissionerate. The highest number of cases - 2,702 - had been registered in April 2019.
The city traffic police had booked offenders after they were found driving under the influence of alcohol through various methods, like breath analysing tests, nakabandi at various spots and surprise checks outside pubs and hotels. In a drive launched by the traffic police, drivers of heavy vehicles were also checked. Action was taken against offenders under relevant sections of the Maharashtra Motor Vehicles Act, which states that alcohol content legal limit is 0.03% to 30 micro litre in 100 ml blood.
Traffic experts expect the same type of crackdown in 2020 to prevent incidents of fatalities which have started after reopening of the city.
Pedestrian First convener Prashant Inamdar, said, “Enforcement is on the lower side due to the Covid crisis and police presence is also less which was not the case in the past. With CCTV, there is surveillance, but physical presence of police officials is missing. The presence of policemen is the need of the hour as we are going back to normalcy and strict enforcement on all counts has to be restored to prevent incidents like drink driving which cause fatalities.”