BENGALURU: From the frequently outraged to the uncommonly meek, the traffic police have seen it all during their checks against drunk driving.
During one such drive at Jayanagar and J P Nagar on a Saturday night, the cops, armed with alcometers, start flagging down vehicles randomly. In a three-hour drive held from 11 pm to 2 am, police booked more than 25 cases. Most of the offenders were well below 35 years of age.
In most cases, the offenders, after being checked and seen being well above the limit of 30 mg/dl, were shocked when they realised that the nightmare had just begun.
“I was studying for my exams and my friends dragged me to a birthday party. Now I don’t even have time to go to the court to pay my fine as my exams begin next week. I don’t know what to tell my mother,” wailed a 21-year-old college student, whose bike was seized by the police after they found him driving with Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) well above the limit.
He cajoled, pleaded and begged and even cried for two hours before he went home in an autorickshaw after being firmly told he had to follow the rules.
The procedure for first-time offenders is not easy too. The vehicles are seized by the traffic police and released only after the offender pays the fine after appearing in the Traffic Court and later presenting the original documents at the police station.
The Driver Licence (DL) is another matter altogether. It is sent to the RTO with recommendation for suspension from anywhere between three to six months.
Inspector Uma Mahesh narrowly missed being run over by a clearly inebriated driver who pretended to stop and then shot off before the police could approach him.
“It can get dangerous. Of course they will not cooperate with us. In fact, three out of ten people try to bribe us and they are very confident they can get away with it. When they realise they cannot get their vehicle back, they can get belligerent,’ he says.
A fact that is immediately proved by two young working professionals who could not understand why the officers were not taking a bribe and releasing their vehicle. “We will pay your fine and beyond it too, but just release our vehicle,” they pleaded. Finally, they left in a cab.
Of course, there were moments of levity too. A youth approached the police and insisted they check his BAC and was asked who he was. The youth gave a straight-faced reply. “I have walked from the bar and I have parked my vehicle there. If my BAC is beyond the limit, then I will take a cab, otherwise I will drive home.”
To this, the cops replied saying that he could drive his vehicle and they would then check him, otherwise they were not interested.
The police also stopped the driver of a lorry laden with filled LPG cylinders. His BAC levels was nearly 500 mg/dl and the lorry was seized. The question on their mind at the end of their drive is a vexing one -- who will drive that lorry back to the station, as none of the cops could?
How Much is Too Much?