216 arrested in one night as Odisha govt steps up crackdown on drunken driving
As many as 648 road accidents took place in Odisha in 2020 due to drunken driving and 298 people lost their lives.
BHUBANESWAR: A fortnight after the Transport department directed collectors and SPs to strictly enforce traffic laws in order to reduce road fatalities, a special drive to check drunken driving has begun in full force in the State. As many as 2,600 drivers were subjected to breath analyser test during the Statewide drive by Odisha Police and Transport department on Saturday night of whom 251 were found driving under influence of alcohol. While 216 drunk drivers were arrested by police, 138 driving licences (DLs) were suspended.
The highest 59 drunken drivers were found in Cuttack district. All of them were arrested and 33 DLs suspended in the district. Similarly, 20 drivers were tested to be driving under influence of alcohol in Sonepur district of whom 17 were arrested. At least 15 were detected in Sambalpur and four arrested. In Khurda, nine drivers were detected and eight arrested while six were arrested out of nine found drunk while driving in Bhubaneswar.
A Transport department official said the drive to check drunken driving resumed after Covid restrictions were lifted by the State government. “Police and RTO staff detained 232 vehicles of the offenders. A total 138 driving licenses were suspended as per the stipulations of amended Motor Vehicles Act 1988 and the directives of the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety,” he said.
The September 2019 amendment of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 states that the first-time offenders will face imprisonment up to six months and/or fine up to Rs 10,000 in the case of drunken driving. The second offence, if within two years, can lead to up to two years prison term and/or fine of Rs 15,000.
The drive was put on hold in view of the health hazards associated with breath analyser test during the Covid pandemic. Transport Commissioner Arun Bothra has asked the enforcement squads to conduct such drives at regular intervals.
Despite the strict laws and regulations, drunken driving continues to be one of the major reasons behind road accidents and fatalities in the State. As many as 648 road accidents took place in Odisha in 2020 due to drunken driving and 298 people lost their lives.
Meanwhile, Principal Secretary of Transport department Bishnupada Sethi has directed all collectors and SPs to ensure stringent enforcement against over-speeding, helmet law and use of mobile phone while driving and submit a report every month.
MV Act penalty
1st offence: Rs 10K fine and/or 6 mth jail
2nd offence: Rs 15K fine and/or 2 year jail
Driving Licence to be suspended in all offences