The procedure after a motorist is booked for drink driving includes a counselling session followed by stamping of challan. However, not all are aware that police cannot compel the offender to attend the session, which leads to undue delay

Do you know that police cannot compel you to attend a counselling session after getting booked for drink driving?

According to the current procedure, a motorist booked for drink driving has to attend a counselling session at one of the Traffic Training Institutes and get his challan stamped. He will be produced before a local court only after the session.

This procedure, which has not statutory backing, results in undue delay, motorists decry. According to Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act, a person can be booked for drink driving if his blood alcohol content (BAC) is more than 30 mg per 100 ml blood. Once caught, the motorist has to be produced before a court and can be fined up to Rs. 2,000 and/or be jailed for up to six months, the Act stipulates.

“Consider you were caught for drink driving on Friday. According to the current procedure, you have to attend a counselling session on Monday, and only then you can hope to go to a court, which most possibly will be any time after that day.

"So, you are forced to be without your vehicle for at least four days and waste more than three working days just to complete the procedure and get your vehicle back,” Ravinder Reddy (name changed on request), a motorist, who was booked for drink driving, recounts.

Whenever someone points out that 30 mg BAC level is too low, police officers never fail to quote the rules.

But under which rule are they forcing motorists to attend counselling sessions? he asks.

“The fact is that more than 50 people are crammed into a single hall for the session, which serves no purpose. Counselling sessions should be conducted for smaller groups so that individual problems could be addressed,” Mr. Reddy, a U.S. returnee, says.

Ideally, police should conduct the sessions for those found with a higher BAC of 60 mg or above, as higher levels indicate serious behavioural problems, he maintains.

When asked, a senior police officer admitted that the sessions had no valid standing.

“The Act is silent about conducting sessions, and our endeavour is only to impress motorists about the dangers of drink driving,” he says.

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