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Why Gurgaon drink driving campaign has had a sobering effect

Gurgaon police’s drink driving campaign is keeping many away from bars for fear of having to spend the night behind bars.

Written by ANCHAL DHAR | Gurgaon | Published: October 8, 2013 2:04:56 am

Gurgaon police’s drink driving campaign is keeping many away from bars for fear of having to spend the night behind bars.

The increase in the number of motorists fined for drink driving this year is proof that the Gurgaon traffic police is serious about keeping inebriated persons off the roads.

According to Gurgaon police,if earlier,one in five persons were found to be driving under influence,the figure has come down dramatically this year to about one in 60 drivers.

The Gurgaon traffic police record shows that between January and September this year,7,419 people were fined for drink driving. The figure for the corresponding period last year was 6,749.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Bharti Arora said,“Between 2010 and 2012,more than 20 were arrested for drink driving and sent to overnight police custody. They were granted bail on payment of a surety bond. This year,the conviction rate has been low — only two so far — because there has been a marked improvement since we started the campaign in 2010. Earlier,one in every five drivers we checked were found to be drunk,especially during the night. But now we find probably one person driving drunk among 60.”

Helping police conduct these drives on Wednesday,Thursday and Saturday are the Road Safety Officers (RSO) — Gurgaon residents who have volunteered to help manage traffic in the city.

Dressed in plain clothes with a cross-belt and carrying walkie-talkies and breathalysers,the RSOs together with traffic personnel conduct drives in areas near pubs,restaurants,malls and open-air liquor vends on NH8,Galleria,MG Road and Sohna Road.

“Most drivers caught driving under influence either threaten us by telling us how ‘well-connected’ they are or try speeding away. Some tell us sob stories in order to win our sympathy and get away,” an RSO said.

“During religious occasions such as Navratras,cases of drink driving are low. But there is a spike in number immediately afterwards. We intend to make our drives more strict in the coming days,” ACP (Traffic) Vishnu Dayal said.

During these drives,breathalysers are used to ascertain the amount of alcohol a driver has consumed. If it is more than 30 mg/100 ml blood,a picture of the offender is taken and the personnel issue a challan. In the case of serious offenders,vehicles are impounded and offenders are produced before a magistrate on a date issued by the court,a traffic officer said.

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