As many as 5,600 sent behind bars after crackdown on drunken driving

The crackdown on drunken driving launched by Delhi Traffic Police has resulted in a whopping 19,914 cases being registered up to mid-October this year, with as many as 5,600 violators being sent behind bars.

The significant increase in prosecutions is being attributed to the relentless drives carried out against drunken driving this year, with a total of 4,960 such exercises being undertaken in the vicinity of the Capital’s “happening” pubs and bars.

“More than 5, 633 drivers have been imprisoned and 939 driving licences cancelled till this October end. Last year, 13,331 motorists were prosecuted for drunken driving during the corresponding period,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Satyendra Garg on Thursday.

Making a presentation at a global meet on road safety, organised by the International Road Federation here, Mr. Garg said the number of prosecutions this year is expected to exceed 25,000. “Strict prosecution and jail terms have made city roads safer by reducing accidents by almost 19.45 per cent this year,” he said.

There has also been a sharp rise in the conviction rate of drunken driving cases from about 18 per cent to nearly 30 per cent this year. Most of the motorists, who were awarded jail terms, were prosecuted by the traffic police in South and North Delhi. With the traffic police actively pursuing the cases to ensure that stringent action is taken against the violators, a maximum jail term of 30 days has so far been awarded to any violator.

Drunken driving is punishable under Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act, under which those driving under the influence of alcohol beyond the permissible limit of 30 mg can be fined Rs.2,000 or sentenced to six months in jail or both. Repeat offenders can be fined Rs.3,000 and/or jailed up to two years. The violator’s vehicle can be impounded and his licence cancelled.

Assessing the impact, Mr. Garg said the drives had reduced instances of drunken driving, increased awareness among road users and also reduced accidents involving cars, two-wheelers and commercial vehicles.

A total of 1,420 accidents, claiming 1,456 lives, have been registered so far this year. During the corresponding period last year, 1,763 accident cases were reported involving 1,807 deaths. According to police statistics, deaths have also recorded a decline of 19.42 per cent till October this year. While both the accident and death figures are the lowest since 2002, accidents in the city have seen a reversal of trend from 2,272 in 2009; 2,104 in 2010; to 2,007 in 2011.

More In: Delhi