Mumbai: Strict drives bring down drink driving cases by 37 percent

In the last three years, Mumbai has seen a remarkable drop in drink driving cases on New Year’s Eve; the credit goes to strict drives and several initiatives by the Traffic police department

The Mumbai police’s efforts to ensure a safer start to the New Year seem to have paid off, with only 523 people being booked for drink driving on December 31 this year a nearly 40 per cent drop from the figure just two years ago.

Some lucky drivers got roses on New Year’s Eve as part of the Mumbai traffic police’s drive to reward sober drivers and reinforce their good behaviour. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
Some lucky drivers got roses on New Year’s Eve as part of the Mumbai traffic police’s drive to reward sober drivers and reinforce their good behaviour. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

The police who are counting the steep drop as a major victory for them as well as public safety say the heavy bandobast, scores of nakabandis, fear of fines and arrest, and easier availability of taxis and drivers have all played a role in bringing the figure down.

A cop checks the breath of a biker at Grant Road. Pic/Bipin Kokate
A cop checks the breath of a biker at Grant Road. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The drop in the number of drink driving cases, in fact, began to be very visible from December 31, 2013 itself, with the number coming down to 570 from the 2012 figure of 840. With the figure falling still lower to 523 on Wednesday, there has been a 37% reduction from 2012.

The most number of drunk drivers 284 were caught in the western and northern parts of the city, followed by 141 from the eastern and central parts and 98 from south Mumbai. The Traffic police booked most of the drunk drivers under Section 185 (driven by a drunk person or under the influence of drugs) of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988. 1,055 people were booked for other traffic violations.

“Usually, we start our campaign from mid-December. In December 2014, we booked 2,025 people for drink driving, more than 200 less than the 2,254 people booked in the same month in 2013,” said Dr B K Upadhyay, joint commi-ssioner of police (traffic).

“On Wednesday, there were nakabandis at around 70 places and around 2,000 traffic policemen were on the roads from the 25 traffic beat chowkies. Due to awareness, fear of fines and arrest and of losing control of the vehicle, the number of people driving drunk has reduced. The various options available like black-and-yellow taxis, radio cabs and drivers have also played a role,” added Upadhyay.

Alert
With the city on terror alert following the Peshawar attack and Bangalore blast, the Mumbai police had cancelled the leaves of policemen. A strong force of around 44,000 policemen manned the streets the entire intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday to avoid any untoward incident.

Extra security cover was arranged for places like Gateway of India and Marine Drive, which are usually very crowded. Certain areas were cordoned off to protect people celebrating the occasion with their families. The local police detained 1,120 people as they had a history of sexual assaults, 310 for petty offences and 30 for drug consumption on New Year’s Eve.

Only one assault case was registered in MHB police station and a molestation case at Marine Drive police station. “Most of the Mumbai police was on the streets and a lot of awareness had been created about the laws and the need to obey them. The people noticed our presence and we took all the necessary care to ensure that no untoward incidents could take place in the city,” said DCP Dhananjay Kulkarni.

Figure trigger

840
No of people caught in drink driving cases on December 31, 2012

523
No of people caught in drink driving cases on December 31, 2014

2,000
No of traffic policemen on the streets for nakabandis on New Year’s Eve

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