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Drunk drivers are let off lightly Drunk drivers are let off lightly

Aug-19-2014 | 0 Comments

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NEW DELHI: This year, 300 persons have died in accidents related to drunk driving. That's 42% of the year's 714 road fatalities. While Delhi Police's steps to check drunk driving have proved ineffective, it blames meagre fines and mild sentences by courts for the problem.

Till July 31, police had booked more than 18,000 persons for drunk driving, but almost all of them were let off after they paid fines of Rs 2,000 and attended counselling sessions. Police data shows 60 persons were booked twice for drunk driving while four have been booked three or more times in the past one year.

Officials say these prosecutions were mainly done during special drives and on most days drunk drivers get away unless they are involved in an accident.

The MV Act says an alcohol count of 30mg or more in 100ml of blood constitutes drunk driving. "Anyone with this blood alcohol level can be jailed, but the courts generally take a lenient view and jail only those with 150mg or more of blood alcohol. The others are only fined, which does not deter them," said a traffic official.

A bottle of beer or two 60ml pegs of alcohol can raise the blood alcohol level to the legal limit even if the driver does not feel drunk. Many of those who are prosecuted claim they had only one drink before hitting the road.

Drunk driving carries is punishable with a fine of Rs 2,000 fine or six months' jail or both. Repeat offenders can be fined Rs 3,000 and jailed for up to two years.

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