Inaugurating the Road Safety Fortnight in Mumbai, CM Prithviraj Chavan lashes out at drunkards behind the wheel and asked RTO officials to start revoking licences
The next time you drink and then take the wheel, you might be at the risk of saying goodbye to driving altogether in the city, if the chief minister has his way. CM Prithviraj Chavan wants all those who are caught drink driving to have their licences revoked, instead of paying a fine or having their licences supended. He said that the drastic step was the need of the hour and has asked officials in the transport department which he heads to look into the feasibility of the idea.
Chavan steps out of a bus at the inauguration of Road Safety Fortnight yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Chavan’s idea comes after 568 people were caught driving in an intoxicated state on New Year’s Eve. Even though the cases saw a drop from the same day in 2012 where 840 motorists were caught driving under the influence, he said that there was a need to change the situation. “Several people were caught for drink driving and fines amounting Rs 5.5 lakh were collected. But I want to know how many driving licences were cancelled after this? These people happily pay the fines,” said the CM at a function inaugurating the Road Safety Fortnight, which is on till January 17.
CM Prithviraj Chavan and Home Minister RR Patil at a function inaugurating the Road Safety Fortnight. The two said stringent action should be taken against those caught drink driving. Pic/Bipin Kokate
He added, “Drink driving cannot be tolerated or accepted. The licences of those caught should be cancelled. It is sad that kids belonging to rich families drive vehicles without proper training or even a proper licence.” Home Minister RR Patil said that the youth needed to be more responsible when it came to driving, as they were mostly the ones who were caught for drink driving. This year, of the people caught for drink driving, 50 per cent belonged to the age group of 21-30 years.
Sources in the Transport Department said that currently there is a provision where driving licences of those caught for drink driving could be cancelled. “There is a provision under Section 19 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, wherein a driving licence could be cancelled. But such stringent action is never taken and instead, licences are suspended,” said a senior transport official. RTO officials, on the other hand, said that the Act needs to be amended.
The traffic police said that the state government needed to give them more power to cancel driving licences. A traffic police official said that all officials above the designation of Assistant Commissioner of Police should be given the power to cancel driving licences and also be allowed to set up mobile courts, making it easier for them to take necessary action. “Presently, we cannot cancel driving licences and can only send them to court or RTO,” said a traffic official.
If a licensing authority is satisfied, after giving the holder of a driving licence an opportunity of being heard, that he...
(a) is a habitual criminal or a habitual drunkard; or
(b) is a habitual addict to any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance
It may make an order...
(i) disqualifying that person for a specified period for holding or obtaining any driving licence; or
(ii) revoke any such licence.
Number of motorists caught drink driving on Dec 31 night
Number of motorists caught drink driving from Dec 25-30