Visakhapatnam: The number of people put behind bars for drunken driving has touched new heights and gone up to 920 (highest so far in the history of the city police) in Vizag city from January to August in 2018.
As many as 25,223 cases have been booked against inebriated drivers in various parts of the city.
The men in uniform say that most of the offenders were in the age group of 30-45 years. Neither a jail term nor the ignominy of standing at traffic junctions in the hot sun under public glare carrying placards has deterred people in this city from driving under the influence of alcohol.
ADCP (Traffic), M. Ramesh Kumar, said, “Drunken driving is increasingly alarmingly in the city. Around 29,992 motorists were booked for tipsy driving in 2017 and 25,223 were booked till August 31 in this year. It might increase by another 10,000 by end of this year. Last year, 496 motorists were sent to jail and paid a whopping penalty of `2.5 crore. This year so far 921 have been sent to jail and they have coughed up `2 crore”.
Sources in the police said “Some motorists continue to drive vehicles under the influence of spirit even after they have undergone a jail term for traffic violation, presuming that they will not be caught again. But, we surprise them every time,’’. In 2013, conviction in drunken driving cases was only 31 and the fine collected was Rs 77.17 lakh in 7,774 cases. The fine amount was nearly Rs 1 crore and 208 persons were convicted in 10,115 cases in 2014. In 2015, there were no convictions in 17,956 cases. In 2016, city traffic cops fined around 20,000 persons for `1.5 crore and 44 persons were convicted.
“Going by the increasing number of accidents caused by driving under the influence of alcohol, this year we are taking drunken driving more seriously compared to previous years.
“We have checkpoints all over the city and are not letting-off anybody. Even drinking in seaside dhabas has been curtailed as we found that many people were driving home under the influence of alcohol as the beach roads are deserted after 11 PM,” said ACPs (Traffic), K Prabhakar and PV Krishna Varma....