CHENNAI: The traffic police have registered 11,300 drunk driving cases in the past three months after intensifying checks at 12 points across the city.
Police said people who were initially reluctant to blow into the breathalyzers had begun to cooperate. Checks have become stringent particularly at road junctions in interior areas that many take after consuming liquor.
In the first six months of 2021, more than 800 accident cases were reported in the city, most of them attributed to drunk driving.
Since most of the people were hesitant in abiding by Covid-related norms, people driving or riding vehicles were asked to blow into a breathalyzer that comes with a hand-held stand fitted with a disposable plastic straw. After each use, the straw is packed in a polythene cover that the motorist concerned is asked to dispose. The traffic police have also framed a standard operating procedure (SoP) to be followed by field officers.
From January 1 to June 30, 2020, there have been 1,000 accidents in the city, most of them due to drunk driving, against 1,229 accidents in the whole of 2019 and 1,268 accidents during the entire 2018. In 2019, most of the 514 accidents caused were due to drunk driving involving bikers.
“We are seizing vehicles besides imposing a fine that offenders have to pay in virtual court. After the payment is done through e-challan, we produce the seized vehicle in virtual court. Steps are also taken to suspend licences. They should realise how dangerous it is to drink and drive,” said additional commissioner of police (traffic) Pratip Kumar.
The traffic police based on the cases registered and also on the number of accidents reported keep changing the check points.
After the Tamil Nadu government announced further relaxations of Covid-19 norms and opened Tasmac outlets in the state, drunk driving cases have surged. Police said that it was imperative to take strong measures to reduce road accidents and drunk driving cases.