With bars and restaurants in the national capital back in business, the Delhi Traffic Police has resumed its drive to check drunk driving and prosecute violators, an officer said on Sunday. After the COVID-19 pandemic started last year, the traffic police had stopped conducting breathalyser tests unless someone was visibly drunk and driving recklessly.
To check drunk driving and prevent road accidents, special teams have been deployed at identified spots where liquor is served till late night and parties are organised, the traffic police said. Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Muktesh Chander said when all activities in the city have resumed and bars and restaurants have also reopened, the enforcement also has to be stepped up, otherwise accidents, particularly in the night time, will increase.
Drunk driving prosecution resumed from Saturday night onwards, he said. It is ensured that the teams involved follow Covid-appropriate behaviour, like wearing masks, using sanitisers and maintaining appropriate social distancing, while performing their duty, Chander said.
Breathalysers are sanitised after every use, he said. “We are using disposal pipes for breathalysers. Every time a new pipe is used and immediately discarded," he added.
According to police records, about 30,000 challans were issued in 2019 for drunk driving. The number of such challans came down to 3,000 in 2020, while only 300 challans have been issued this year. “We deliberately avoided issuing challans owing to the rise in COVID-19 cases," Chander said.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is punishable by a court challan. In case of a first such offence, a person is liable to pay a fine of Rs 10,000 or face imprisonment up to six months or both.
For second and subsequent offences, a fine of Rs 15,000 or imprisonment up to two years or both are applicable. Police are authorised to digitally seize the driving licence or registration certificate of the offender in such cases. If the person is from another state and has a booklet or a simple paper driving licence, then it is seized physically.
Unless accompanied by a sober person with a valid driving license, the police are also authorised to seize the vehicle of the drunk person.