Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: With road accidents increasing every year, the Transport Department is taking deterrent action against those who drive vehicles under the influence of alcohol as part of the measures to ensure safety on roads. Last year alone, licences of about 22,500 persons were either suspended or cancelled for drunken driving.

Transport Commissioner C.P. Singh told The Hindu that the Government decided to take stern action against drunken driving.

Hence, apart from the fine that was being imposed on erring drivers, the department suspended the licences or cancelled wherever found required. Last year, 7741 licences were suspended for drunken driving for the first offence.

Licences of 8783 persons were suspended for involvement in accidents. For the second offence, 5226 licences were cancelled for drunken driving.

A total of 740 were cancelled because the licence holders were involved in accidents.

In the last six months, the department decided to take action against permit holders also. Accordingly, while 299 permits were suspended, 180 were cancelled.

As overloading also led to accidents, instructions had been issued to levy Rs.5000 as a minimum penalty.