Need strong arm of law

Less than 48 hours ago, the Versova police arrested a man who allegedly knocked down a cyclist while in an intoxicated state. Apparently, he then manhandled and threatened policemen, before abusing doctors who tried to conduct a blood-alcohol test.

A couple of weeks ago, a teenaged girl was killed and two of her friends seriously injured when their car, driven by an allegedly drunk software engineer, overturned and rammed into a parked rickshaw.

Not long before this happened, traffic police booked 222 offenders in a matter of hours during an anti-drink driving campaign. They followed this up by booking 154 offenders on a single night.
Statistics like these usually mean little, except to those at the receiving end of what happens when someone drives under the influence of alcohol.

What we should ask, however, is why some people simply refuse to take this particular law seriously. What prompts repeat offenders to, time and again, put their lives and those of others at risk in such a manner? More importantly, what are we to make of the term ‘repeat offender’ when the cost can be so catastrophic?

Changes proposed in the Motor Vehicles Act not too long ago may now make it possible for drink driving to be dealt with higher penalties and even a two-year jail term. Putting aside the issue of how long it may take for these proposals to take shape as laws though, we need to evaluate whether or not they will act as a strong deterrent.

Last week, we spoke of the need for individuals to be more aware as drivers. We mentioned the need to follow rules and avoid overtaking. In the event of this not happening — as is often the case with most other traffic rules routinely flouted in our cities — only the law can help. 

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