Vijay Magar, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) on Tuesday, informed that the Pune Police have registered cases against 100 individuals for driving under the influence of alcohol during the New Year celebrations, with Pimpri Chichwad reporting 322 similar cases.
Furthermore, action was taken against 410 motorists for various traffic violations, according to Magar. Last year, a total of 271 individuals faced charges for similar offenses, with 121 cases in Pune. During the New Year's Eve celebrations in 2020 and 2021, breathalysers were not used due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the recent New Year's Eve, the Pune traffic police covered all major roads, taking action at 27 spots, while the Pimpri Chinchwad police took action at 30 locations. Breathalyser tests were employed to detect alcohol levels in drivers' breath, using single-use tubes to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Punishment for offence
Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act deals with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, with penalties for exceeding 30 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. Offenders may face imprisonment for up to six months or a fine for the first offense, and up to two years for subsequent offenses within three years.
The police's traffic branch organised a campaign against drunk driving on the midnight of New Year's Eve, emphasising special care due to the resurgence of COVID-19. Single-use tubes on breathalysers were used to detect drunk drivers during New Year celebrations.
“For 2021 and 2022, the breathalyser was not used to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In 2023, the breathalyser machine had use-and-throw pipes. One pipe was used for one driver during the test, it wasn’t reused. The decision was implemented this year as well to restrict the spread of the infection,” Magar added.
Security measures in city
Security measures were strategically implemented throughout the city, including the setup of blockades to scrutinise and penalise suspected motorists. DCP Vijay Magar emphasised the proactive approach of the police, stating that action was taken against 100 to 150 cases of drunk driving and over 400 cases of traffic violations. Penalties were imposed on 410 motorists for violations such as not wearing a seat belt, driving in the opposite direction, and driving a triple-seat vehicle.
This year too, the traffic department banned vehicles on Fergusson College (FC) Road and Mahatma Gandhi (MG) Road after sundown. Both roads were declared no-vehicle zones after 7 pm on December 31 to 5 am on January 1.
To ensure the smooth conduct of New Year celebrations, at least 3,000 police personnel were deployed across the city until 5 am on January 1, 2024.
Thousands of Punekars gathered at FC Road, MG Road in Camp, and other locations on Sunday night to ring in the New Year amid tight security arrangements. Many opted to visit religious places, including the famous Dagdusheth Temple and churches.
Get-togethers were organised in various housing societies in the city and on the terraces of buildings, while many others chose activities such as clubbing, trekking, partying, or camping for their celebrations.