Tag Archives: drunk driving

Drunken driving offenders left high and dry

HYDERABAD: People caught for drunken driving can vouchsafe that the process itself is the punishment. After being caught while driving in drunken condition, their vehicles have been seized and though two weeks have passed, over ten dozen offenders are still waiting to get their vehicles released from the court.

The traffic police had conducted a drive against drunken driving on May 19 and 20 at several junctions in the city and had registered 250 cases and seized the vehicles. Law stipulates that the vehicles be seized and the errant drivers appear before the morning court in Somajiguda. But the pendency before the court is such that the drunken driving cases are getting postponed much to the chagrin of the motorists whose vehicles are seized.

Take the case of Srikant (name changed at request). He was caught by the police as he was driving his vehicle in a drunken condition. Police found that alcohol count in his blood exceeded 30 mg and seized his vehicle. He did attend the mandatory counselling session two weeks ago, but his case has not come up for hearing till today. While 250 cases were booked on those two days, more than 120 are still waiting to attend the court.

“Yes it was a mistake to drive after drinking. But isn’t it unfair to make one run from pillar to post to get the vehicle released? We do know the court procedures are not in the hands of police, but once they have seized the vehicles, isn’t it their moral responsibility to get the cases cleared at the earliest?” questions another motorist, who too requested anonymity.

The police which acquired latest breath analysers which can give printouts of Blood Alcohol Count (BAC), started booking drunk driving cases under Section 185-A of the Motor Vehicle Act. Under this Section, drunk driving is a non-compoundable offence and the offender has to face trial, explained DCP Traffic (North) P.V.S. Ramakrishna.

Hitherto, the police were booking drunken driving cases under Section 184-B of MV Act (rash driving) where fines up to Rs. 500 were imposed but the drivers were not produced before the court.

This article was published in The Hindu on Jun02, 2012.

Drunk drivers’ efforts to evade traffic police

HYDERABAD: With traffic police clamping down vigorously on drunk driving, revellers visiting high-end pubs and bars are employing new tactics to evade police detection.

Apart from hiring drivers to ferry them home, they are now winding up their parties only late into the night.

“Visitors of pubs and bars in posh areas are leaving the bar premises only after we wind up our operations, to evade police check posts put up during drunk driving enforcement,” a police official said. For last few months we have observed that not many customers come out of high-end bars till the time our check posts are in place, he explained.

That’s also because many of the high-end pubs serve liquor beyond the schedule time, he points out. As per rules, bars should close down by midnight, but quite a few of them serve liquor with their shutters closed.

Rate of accidents

The aim of controlling drunk driving is to reduce the rate of accidents, but if bars and restaurants allow patrons to leave their premises after the enforcement timings, the very purpose of the drive will be defeated, the police official said.

According to present regulations, bars should stop serving liquor by 11 p.m. and close by midnight. But most watering holes frequented by influential people/VIPs remain open till late in the night, admitted Andhra Pradesh Wine Shop Dealers Association president D. Venkateswara Rao.

Since most bars and pubs in areas such as Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills are kept open till late into night, most youngsters are now hopping to these places after ‘smaller’ joints close at their scheduled time, he explained.

As a police official points out with a shrug: “Traffic police does not have the authority to close the bars, so our law and order brethren should ensure that these bars are closed in time to help us in better enforcement of drunk driving.”

This article was published in The Hindu on April 23, 2012