KOCHI: DO you like binging on liquor at parties or during festivities in the assurance that you could get an online taxi or someone to drop you? Well, you may have to stop the practice since a new regulation prohibits drivers not only from driving while intoxicated, but also taking inebriated passengers along.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ new ‘Motor Vehicles driving regulation 2017’ (MVR), which came into effect on June 23, bars drivers from taking drunken passengers along. It clearly states the driver should comply with the laws.
“The driver shall strictly comply with the laws for the time being in force relating to the prohibition on the consumption of alcohol and drugs and smoking, and also ensure compliance there by the other crew, riders and passengers if any,” says rule 5 of the MVR 2017, which describes the duties of drivers and riders.
Kerala Motor Vehicle Department’s MVD) Senior Deputy Transport Commissioner (Tax) V Sureshkumar said drivers have to make sure the passengers are not inebriated. “If earlier, the drivers were punished for riding after consuming alcohol, with this new rule, they along with the crew will be subjected to punishment if they ride or drive the vehicle under the influence of alcohol. The drivers have to ensure their passengers are not in an inebriated state, otherwise they’ll be booked under the new rule,” said Sureshkumar.
Since most of the passengers use the traditional taxi drivers and online cab service in the state for transportation, the rule would affect their revenue. “I prefer to drive through the night, when many people have consumed alcohol. If this rule becomes a reality, I’ll find it tough to get enough customers,” said an Uber driver.
Though the rule has become official, the government is yet to implement it. The officers believe the new regulations have several drawbacks and enforcing them is a Herculean task, that too with a low a staff strength.
“How to rightly implement the rule still remains as a question. Prohibition of alcohol to fellow passengers is just one section of the new regulation. In the new guidelines, there are more than 40 rules and 500 sub-rules.“But under the prohibition of liquor rule, it is the responsibility of the driver to ascertain whether his passengers are in inebriated condition or not. They can’t ask their customers or can’t judge how much alcohol his passenger has taken,” said an MVD official.