“High time the government and the police put their act together to curb the menace of drunken driving”

A young businessman fatally knocking down a Delhi Police constable with his rashly-driven Mercedes Benz and causing injuries to his colleague at Paschim Vihar here in the early hours of Tuesday has once again brought to the fore the growing number of fatal hit-and-run accidents involving luxury vehicles on the Capital's roads.

In a similar accident in February, another young businessman, Anukool Rishi, was killed while driving a Lamborghini. He apparently lost control over the wheel and rammed the railing on the BRT corridor.

A cyclist had also sustained grievous injuries in the accident.

The car was being driven at such high speed that it was reduced to a mangled heap.

Similarly, a sightseeing trip for a group of Air Force personnel turned fatal in October last when a van carrying them was hit by a speeding luxury car at Rajpath on a Sunday morning. Four of the personnel, including a warrant officer, were killed and three persons had sustained injuries.

In a bizarre accident, a 17-year-old teenaged law student was killed when his speeding sedan hit the pavement, flipped over and fell down a flyover in Lajpat Nagar in September last.

The teenager was returning home to Noida after a party at a five-star hotel in Nehru Place when the accident took place.

Stressing the need for “zero tolerance” towards cases of drunken driving, Campaign Against Drunken Driving initiator Prince Singhal said: “It is high time the government and the police put their act together to curb the menace of drunken driving. It is not enough to hike the fine for such violations. If a driver in an inebriated state causes an accident leading to a death, it should be made a non-bailable offence.”

Mr. Singhal stressed that enforcement should be regular and not seasonal.

“It should be a continuous process and special teams of police personnel should be created for the purpose. It should be ensured that the drive involved in an accident is put to mandatory alcohol test within two hours of the accident to know the alcohol content in the blood.”

According to Mr. Singhal, a large number of accidents where the victims survived with minor or serious injuries mostly go unreported in the media.

For their part, the Delhi Police maintain that reduction in road accidents had always been their top priority and the number of fatal accidents and persons killed in 2011 were the lowest since 2005.

According to the latest figures, a total of 2,066 persons lost their lives in 2,007 accidents in 2011 compared to 2,153 deaths in 2,104 accidents the previous year. In 2009, 2,234 lives were lost in 2,182 accidents.

The police attribute the decrease in the accidents and the fatalities to systematic analysis of various aspects of accidents, special night checking-cum-patrolling, action against drunken driving and commercial vehicles and identification of engineering faults and getting them rectified by civic agencies.

“We are serious about the menace of drunken driving and strict action is taken against such offenders round the year. A total of 18,073 people were prosecuted for drunken driving in 2011 compared to 11,388 the previous year. Of these, the driving licences of more than 2,000 people were suspended and 2,960 were sentenced to imprisonment by the court,” said Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat.

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