The next time you down a couple of drinks and head out, make sure you have a chauffeur in tow. You risk losing your licence otherwise.
Statistics from the Transport Department reveal that from January to March this year, 275 licences were cancelled and 3,211 suspended across the state in cases of drunk driving.
“There has been a sudden increase in the number of such cases this year. This could be because of the numerous public holidays and festivals. The figures may see a dip in the following months,” said an official in the Transport Department.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is punishable as per Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. If alcohol in the blood exceeds 30 m.g. per 100 m.l. of blood, a first-time offender is punishable with a six-month jail term or a fine of Rs. 2,000, or both.
Subsequent offences may attract imprisonment of two years or a fine of Rs. 3,000, or both. The licence may also be suspended or cancelled.
During 2008-2009, a total of 1,356 licences were cancelled and 7,691 suspended. In 2009-2010, the Transport Department cancelled 755 licences and suspended 5,544 and in 2010-2011, the numbers dipped further with 226 cancellations and 3878 suspensions.
In the city, the Chennai City Traffic Police has upped the ante against drunk motorists. “We focus on weekends and holidays, as the chances of drunk driving are higher,” said Sanjay Arora, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic). “Luckily, the number of fatalities due to drunk driving is low in the city.”