It is a record of sorts for the traffic police but a reminder for those driving vehicles after consuming liquor on the city’s roads. In the last 29 months, 1,728 persons caught by the traffic police for drink-driving were slapped with jail terms ranging from a single day to 12 days.
Among those jailed were government employees, professionals including doctors, advocates, teachers and yes, even those from the media. Suffice to say that the traffic police have put the fear of the law in the minds of potential offenders, and managed to withstand pressures from the high and mighty.
While 10,813 were caught in 2012, the figure rose to 13,476 in 2013. Till the end of March this year, 3,563 tested positive when subjected to the breathalyser test.
Those caught in the inspections belonged to different age-groups – there were 147 persons in the age group of 61-70 years among the 29,552 caught for drink-driving in past 29 months.
Senior traffic police officials pointed out that not many took it seriously when the special drive to contain drink-driving was launched in November 2011. Some described it as harassment of public, others said it was another move to fleece people and some more said they wouldn’t care and were ready to pay the fine amount.
“There were complaints of misbehaviour by our traffic policemen, which we addressed. But some persons taking the drive lightly by paying out fines was a worrying factor,” recalled a senior police officer.
After serious thought about the ways and means to control the section unfazed about paying the fines, the traffic police learnt that those caught drunk were being sent to jails in other metros like Mumbai.
It was then that the traffic police top brass impressed upon judicial officers here on the need to slap jail terms to such offenders in public interest.
“Drivers getting jail terms for drink driving sent alarm bells among many. Now, I have stopped driving after consuming liquor or I engage a driver whenever I go to parties,” said S. Rakesh of Bowenpally.
It is, however, debatable if the police have achieved the goal of controlling road accidents with their special drive as statistics suggest that not much has changed. Yet, the traffic police have been continuing their weekend inspections in the nights.