• Consequences of Drunken Driving in India

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    Alcohol has been found to be the cause of many social ills in the country, the most significant one being the traffic accidents caused by it. Alcohol impairs a person’s ability to make judgements while driving. He/she, in such a state of mind, tends to take risks, takes long to react, and may get aggressive too. Though aware of these effects, people still choose to hit the roads after drinking.

    Many small bars on highways have always found it hard to tackle drunken driving, given that mishaps on highways could lead to major accidents. In fact, in the year 2017, the Supreme Court had ordered a blanket ban on all liquor shops, pubs, and bars that were located on a highway or 500 metres from it. At a later point, however, the government denotified highways within city limits.

    Facts about drunken driving in India

    Given below are some facts and figures with regard to driving under the influence:

    • On an average, 12,000 people succumb to road accidents caused by drunken driving every year.
    • Drunken driving causes one-third of traffic incidents.
    • About 9 lakh people, on an average, are arrested for driving under the influence.
    • Drunken driving offenders largely belong to the 30 years – 40 years age group.
    • Any person who is found to have more than 30mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his/her body is considered to be wrongfully driving under the influence of alcohol.
    • Persons who have drug levels exceeding the limit that allows him/her to be able to exercise control over himself/herself is also considered an offender in this case.
    • Under Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, drunken driving is a criminal offence.

    Punishments for driving under the influence of alcohol

    Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

    • Under the aforementioned act, a person who is found to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is fined up to Rs.2,000 or imprisoned for up to 6 months or both in the first instance.
    • In case a person is found to be drunken driving once again, within 3 years, he/she will be fined up to Rs.3,000 or imprisoned for up to 2 years of both.

    Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill, 2016

    The Union Cabinet gave its approval to pass the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which raised the fine for drunken driving from Rs.2,000 to Rs.10,000.

    Final word

    A person driving under the influence not only puts his/her life at risk but puts the lives of others on the road at risk too. The government, hence, has been making laws stricter and punishments more severe. However, only strengthening the laws of the country will not suffice. It is only when people who drink make a conscious choice of not driving while being intoxicated that the number of road accidents will drop. Therefore, every individual should plan in advance and not drive to the bar/pub in his/her car. Even if he/she does drive, it is always best to ask a friend to drop him/her home or find another mode of transport to reach home after drinking.

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