Rajahmundry: State Excise authorities will take up a campaign advising drivers not to consume liquor while driving, especially on national and state highways, to ensure their own safety and that of the passengers. Officials will set up hoardings at vantage points along the highways advising against drinking and driving.
State Excise commissioner Mukesh Kumar Meena visited Eluru in West Godavari on Wednesday and asked local officials to set up hoardings. This will be followed in other districts soon.
Drunk driving is one of the major reasons for road accidents. The number of casualties is greater in the case of passenger vehicles like contract carriages.
Drivers of multi-axle commercial vehicles carrying goods for long distances consume liquor unchecked and drive, posing a danger to themselves and other road-users.
Liquor retail outlets located along the highways makes it easy for drivers to drink.
Though the Excise act bars liquor retail outlets within 100 metres from the highways, it gives exemption in case there are habitations nearby.
As the highways go through villages, liquor retail outlets come up in large number and enjoy brisk business. The efforts of the West Godavari administration to shift as many as 119 liquor retail outlets located along the national highway went in vain as the licensees obtained stay order from the High Court to maintain status quo.
However, local excise authorities are trying to persuade the licence holders to remove large glow sign boards and other attractive displays to ensure not to attract drivers. They are also asking licence holders to move the entrance away from the highways.
Mr Meena also directed authorities to keep vigil on liquor outlets along highways especially during weekends to ensure that they do not serve liquor to under-age persons. As per norms, those who completed 21 years of age are eligible to consume liquor.
West Godavari excise deputy commissioner Y.B. Bhaskara Rao said, “We are identifying vantage points along highways in the district to set up hoardings. We will also set them up in places where more trucks halt so as to draw their attention.”...