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Special drives fail to deter drunk driving


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STA should put offenders’ info in the public domain

BHUBANESWAR: In 2021, as many as 89 people lost their lives and 251 were injured in road mishaps due to drunk driving in the State. But despite the strict laws drunk driving continued to be the main reason for road mishaps.

The amended Motor Vehicles Act 1988 stated that in the case of drunken driving, first-time offenders would face imprisonment of up to six months  or fine of up to Rs 10, 000. The second offence, if within two years, can lead to up to two years’ prison term and/or a fine of Rs 15,000.

However, the ant-drunk driving programme of the Transport Department and the Odisha police has failed to be effective in reducing traffic accidents and deaths in the State.

The State Transport Authority (STA) is carrying out a special drive against drunk driving from September 7 to 9 on National and State Highways or black spots.

“The drives against drunk driving should be carried out on a regular basis to be effective. Because after the enforcement period is over, the drivers revert back to their old behaviour.  And there should be a surprise element in the drive. Instead of fixed check-points there should be surprise check-points, said road safety expert or lawyer Subrat Kumar Nanda.

The list of the suspended DLs, along with the name and other details of the offenders should be put in the public domain by the STA by uploading it in its website.  After six months suspension of the DL, the offenders would be back on the road. Particularly the professional drivers are the biggest hazard. Otherwise how the owner can know while hiring him that he drives the vehicle drunk, Nanda added.

Besides, the anti-drunk drives should not be confined only to the highways. It should be regularly conducted within the city limits particularly on the stretch where most of the bars, hotels are located. For example on the road from Jaydev Vihar to Patia or Cuttack Road where most of the bars or pubs are located in Bhubaneswar, he said.

 But unfortunately it is not being done because the enforcement agencies are afraid to lay their hands on the influential offenders.  The police stations should be provided with more breath analysers to conduct more surprise checks regularly to curb the menace. Otherwise these drives are  a mere eyewash, said Nanda. 

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