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Driving under the influence of alcohol is a major menace in India as every year a lot of accidents on the road take place due to this exact problem. Now the authorities have tried and tested several methods but the menace of driving under influence of alcohol has been a tough problem to curb. So much so that some states have witnessed a near astronomical rise in the cases of drink and drive. One such state is Karnataka where a harsh penalty like suspension of driving license saw a jump of 170% when enforced in earnest. There are reports claiming that the drink and drive problem is so acute in Karnataka that authorities in the state cancelled 83,690 driving licences between 2016 and 2018 and nearly 60,000 among these were cancelled because the driver was under the influence of alcohol.
Talking about the serious problem in the state a local official associated with the transport department said,
We are taking stringent action against violators, especially those driving or riding under the influence of alcohol. They have to apply for a learner’s licence and then apply for driving licence. They will be issued a licence only after passing the mandatory driving test
Pull back the timeline around 3 years and the tally for licences cancelled in the country stood at a grand total of 12,151. Moving on to 2017, the number of citizens facing licence cancellation in the country stood at 14,881. However, a year later, the number more than doubled and swelled up to 32,765. Not talking about the percentage of the licences cancelled due to the cases of driving under the influence of alcohol among the total number of licences cancelled swelled up from 59% in 2016 to 79% in 2018.
It is not just the driving under influence that leads to the cancellation of the licence of an individual. There are several other violations for which a person’s licence can be revoked. For revoking someone’s licence, the local department of transport department has to act on the recommendation of the local traffic police department. Although in other cases repeat offence leads to the revoking of someone’s licence, in case of driving under the influence of alcohol, the offender can lose their licence even in the first offense. In India, the maximum limit of alcohol in the blood to consider a person fit for driving condition is less than 30 mg per 100 ml. The police can seize the driving license if the alcohol level is found above that.
MA Saleem, the local ADGP of commissioner for traffic and road safety and crime & technical services talked about the driving under the influence of alcohol problem and stated,
“Accidents by a drunken driver are generally due to poor judgment, slow reaction, delayed reflexes, poor visual attention, improper coordination and difficulty in identifying road bottlenecks, Consumption of alcohol also results in a euphoric effect which makes individual shed inhibition and violates traffic rules.”