Series of awareness campaigns, strict vigilance, even levying penalties appear to have failed to refrain people from being inebriated behind the wheels if the higher conviction rate in the drunk driving cases is any indication.
Records suggest that more than 570 drivers have been convicted in drunk driving cases since January so far and officials say that the figure is the highest so far. The fine collected in the period has already crossed the Rs. 1.4 crore mark.
Since last year, the City Police have been focussing on drink driving. Special teams comprising personnel and officers from various Police wings—traffic, law and order and crime—have been formed to catch the people driving in inebriated condition.
The police even have upgraded the technology to ensure strict vigillance. But, the police say that the tipsy drivers have been resorting to the cat and mouse games with the enforcement teams, with each trying to outbeat the other.
Earlier, the police undertook a series of awareness campaign, then levied fines before the drunk drivers were let up. But, the erring drivers, police say, refused to mend their ways.
Realising that fine played no deterrent, the police chose to take the legal recourse and the conviction rate by the special magistrates have gone up significantly this year.
As many as 18,123 cases have been registered on charges of drunk driving in the city in the last six months. And according to the police, most of the offenders were in the age group between 30 and 45 years.
As per the police records, 7,700 cases were booked in 2013 of which 31 drivers were convicted, along with collection of Rs. 77.17 lakh as penalty. In 2014, 210 persons were convicted of the 10,115 cases and the fine collection was put at close to Rs. 1 crore.
In 2015, there were no convictions of the 17,956 cases registered which went up to 45 (from around 20,000 cases) in 2016 and the fine collected was Rs. 1.5 crore. Last year, more than 490 tipsy drivers landed behind the bars (of 29,990 cases) and the fine collected was Rs. 2.5 crore.
“The term for the convits has been enhanced. Earlier, it was only for a day or two. But now, it has increased from three to 15 days, depending upon if the driver is a repeat offender. We are also maintaining a database, and repeat offenders are being taken to task,” ACP (traffic) Kinjarapu Prabhakar said.
According to him, as many as 128 road accidents were reported due to drunken driving in the city.
Of the total, 45 were fatal and around 150 persons have been injured since 2016.
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