55% rise in drunk driving cases on New Year eve, 778 motorists booked

Mumbai: This New Year's eve, the number of drunk driving cases were almost double that of last year, with Mumbai Traffic Police booking 778 motorists for driving under the influence of alcohol on Tuesday. A total of 5,538 people took breathalyser tests at various nakabandi points across the city, with 778 testing positive for intake of alcohol above permissible limits. While 578 bikers were booked for drunk driving, 200 motorists tested positive. In the corresponding period last year, 433 motorists were booked for drinking and driving.

Interestingly, last year, over 10,000 motorists had undergone breathalyser tests, while this year, the number was just over half that number, a mere 5,538 checks. Clarifying on the fewer number of breathalyser checks this year, Madhukar Pandey, joint commissioner of police (traffic), said, since it was New Year's eve, not many people were seen on the streets and seem to have celebrated at home or gone to house parties or crashed at friends' homes afterwards.

Pandey said, drink-and-drive cases had increased despite several awareness campaigns run through the year. "The entire drive was conducted from 10am on Monday morning to 6pm on Tuesday morning, to ensure road safety and traffic management. Keeping in mind the celebrations, many roads in the city and suburbs were closed and parking was restricted."

Police said, while last year and the preceding year, drunk driving numbers had registered a marginal decline (433 and 615 cases respectively), this year, the figures shot up by 55 per cent. The numbers were recorded from 8am on December 31 to 6am on January 1. Additionally, traffic police also penalised 1,100 motorists for violating traffic rules -- 601 for jumping signals, 258 for riding triple-seat and 241 for speeding.

Most of the 778 drunk driving cases were recorded at Dahisar, with 58 motorists, including 50 on two-wheelers, caught driving under the influence of alcohol. Thirty-four bikers were nabbed from Sahar area and 19 people driving cars were apprehended from Vikhroli, police said.

The traffic police will request the Regional Transport Office (RTO) to suspend the licenses of the 778 drunk drivers for six months. The respective RTOs will decide on a case-to-case basis.

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