HYDERABAD: Private sector employee Sudhakar (name changed) had one bottle of beer at a party, got into his car, and drove out, hoping to be home for dinner. As he approached the Moazzam Jahi Market intersection in Hyderabad, he was flagged down by a police party and submitted to the breathalyzer.
“But I had only one bottle of beer,” said the young man. But the officer had heard it all before. Almost absentmindedly, he pointed to another young tippler who had just gone through the same routine: he had only one pint. Next morning, Sudhakar and eight others of his ilk were marched to the signal at the Hyderabad Traffic Control Room and made to mind traffic for five hours.
This was the stipulated punishment handed out by the Third Metropolitan Magistrate Court to 31 first-time drunken driving offenders. A total of 100 violators were produced in court, and the judge decreed that first timers whose blood alcohol content measured less than 100 mg alcohol per 100 ml of blood would have to learn what it is like to be a traffic cop and serve amid the chaotic traffic of Hyderabad.
This is the latest indication that punitive measures for drunken driving will pack a little more menace from now on. Earlier, DD offenders had to do entirely enjoyable public service duties like holding up dainty placards with messages, do some Swachh Bharat sweeping, etc. The five hours of traffic management, like the frog jumps one had to do at school, is likely to be memorable, police officials said.