BHUBANESWAR: With driving in inebriated condition topping the list of reasons behind road fatalities, police have launched a massive crackdown on drunken driving across the State.The police have arrested 8,583 drivers who were found drunk while driving in 34 police districts in the last three months. While 3,462 persons were nabbed in October, 2,394 and 2,727 were apprehended in September and November respectively.
Sources said highest 2,060 drivers have been arrested from Ganjam district, followed by 1,061 from Mayurbhanj, 866 from Jajpur, 559 from Angul, 335 from Dhenkanal and 274 from Sambalpur. Puri reported only 11 arrests.With the arrest of 261 persons, Berhampur recorded highest cases of drunken driving among the cities. While only 20 persons have been nabbed from Bhubaneswar, 147 were arrested from Cuttack and 165 from Rourkela.
“Drunken driving is one of major reasons for the rise in road accidents in the State. It will not be tolerated at any cost. Apart from the arrest, drivers found drunk during surprise checking are also being fined as per the provisions under the amended Motor Vehicle Act. Enforcement against the drunken driving will continue,” said a senior police official.
As per the Motor Vehicle Act 2019, drunken driving attracts imprisonment upto six months and/or fine upto `10,000 for first offence and imprisonment upto two years and/or fine of `15,000 for second offence.
Odisha had recorded 735 deaths in 2017 and 900 deaths in 2018 due to drunken driving. Fatalities reported last year accounted for nearly 17 per cent of the total number of accident related deaths in the State, which recorded second highest deaths after Uttar Pradesh.
Police, however, claimed the number of casualties due to road mishap has dropped following the crackdown on drunken driving. Statistics revealed that 315 road mishap deaths were reported in September against 368 in the corresponding period last year. Similarly, 350 deaths were reported in October, while the casualties stood at 444 in October last year.
Apart from drunken driving, the Commissionerate of Police turned its focus on wrong side driving. As many as 200 spots have been identified in Bhubaneswar where motorists are found going against flow of traffic.DCP (Traffic) Sagarika Nath said traffic enforcement has been strengthened at around 40 such spots which are vulnerable to accidents. More than 1,500 persons have been fined in the city for wrong side driving, she added.