Andhra Pradesh

Worrying rise in youths getting convicted for drunken driving

Police officials detaining a motorcyclist as part of routine vehicle checks in Visakhapatnam.

Police officials detaining a motorcyclist as part of routine vehicle checks in Visakhapatnam.  


Besides the risk posed to other motorists, such activities wreck one’s career prospects

Officials of the transport department are worried over a steady rise in youngsters being arrested and convicted for drunken driving in the city.

A person who is caught driving in an inebriated condition is usually sentenced to a simple imprisonment of 2-3 days. However, the ramifications of such a conviction are lasting.

A conviction is permanently listed on the person’s driving licence and passport, which would seriously hamper their prospects of going abroad for work. Even within the country, police notify a workplace if one of their employees are caught driving drunk, which then leads to adverse consequences.

High enforcement

There has been enhanced enforcement against drunken driving at many parts of the city. Statistics obtained from the City Traffic Police state that 2,000 drunken driving cases are being booked every month. In 2018, 32,853 cases were booked in the city, as compared to 30,328 cases in 2017.

Officials state that a person arrested for drunken driving has no option but to face the court where a judge can impose a sentence ranging from a jail term to a fine or traffic duties at major junctions, depending on the severity of the case.

In 2018, 1,418 people were convicted by court — with one person being sentenced to 15 days’ imprisonment. The year saw a 76% rise in convictions over the previous year.

Lasting effects

“We have seen an increase in youngsters, including college students, being caught for drunken driving over the years. Engineering students are caught more often,” Deputy Transport Commissioner, Visakhapatnam district, S. Venkateswara Rao told The Hindu.

“Once a student is convicted by the court, and is either sent to jail or is imposed some other form of punishment, the consequences would be severe. The person will face problems while applying for higher studies abroad, and will also face trouble while applying for a job within the country, be it government or private,” Mr. Venkateswara Rao said.

“Those who have undergone a jail term of even one day will face even more adverse consequences. Moreover, rules under the MV Act are now very stringent, and can entail seizure of driving licence for upto six months, seizure of vehicles, and a heavy fine,” he said.

The City Police have launched an initiative to crack the whip on employees of private and government departments caught driving under the influence of alcohol. Police are sending notices to the workplaces of such employees. The notices include details of police counselling, court punishments, including the details of the violation and alcometer readings.

Awareness drives

In the year 2016, the transport department observed that a large number of college-going youngsters did not possess a driving licence, prompting them to launch ‘LLR melas’. In the last two years, the department has issued over one lakh driving licences to students.

“We see a similar kind of situation now, concerning students. So we have started sensitisation programmes at various colleges. Awareness campaigns are being conducted over traffic rules, and the kind of impact that breaking the law will have on one’s career,” Mr. Rao said.

Parents’ role is key

A senior official from the Visakhapatnam Traffic Police appealed to parents to counsel their children to not indulge in such activities, as such behaviour, while posing a life-threatening risk to other road users, will also wreak havoc on their own lives.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 10:29:56 AM |

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