Surveillance on drink-driving to intensify

KOLKATA: With medical tests confirming that Aditi Agarwal — the interior designer named in the latest fatal hitand-run case — was heavily drunk when the accident occurred, police have now decided to intensify their campaign against drink-driving.

To begin with, cops have decided to carry out additional checks even on weekdays. Normally, intense drives are under taken on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. “On an average, 25 traffic guards report between 400-450 cases of drink driving every month. In December every year, this tends to go up by another 25%- 30%. The worst are on Saturdays,” explained an officer at Lalbazar.

It is also the time when the number of accidents sees a spike, with fog adding to drivers’ woes. For the past two years, though, both Kolkata Police and Police have been able to reverse the trend. “We have been instructed to hand over drink-driving cases to local police stations and even recommend that the RTO suspends the drivers’ licences temporarily. We will intensify these drives from the start of December. We will carry out checks on weekends and randomly choose areas on weekdays. The drive on the festive days will be the most-planned one,” said an IPS officer.

According to the traffic police, 25 traffic guards in the city have been directed to hit the roads with breath analyzers by 9pm. “Cops at busy spots will be given more than one breath analyzer to keep an eye on more vehicles. The police top brass have appealed to pub-hoppers not to drink and drive. “Our spotters outside popular pubs can warn us about drink-driving,” an officer said.

Come December, the cops will also be seeking external help to clamp down on drinkdriving. To ensure the clubs and pubs don’t allow partyhoppers to sit at the wheel, cops will hold a special meeting with the owners and managers of top restaurants, bars and pubs to chart out a list of dos and don’ts soon. “It is a yearly affair but the latest accident will bolster cops’ resolve to intensify the exercise,” said a source.

The cops have asked all the eateries and drinking holes to bring the entire premises under CCTV , close bars and pubs within a specific time and arrange app cabs for those who they deem unfit to drive back home.

So how many pegs are ‘safe’? The advice from police is if you have had a little more than one peg, it is best not to sit at the wheel. “We do know that handling alcohol differs from person to person. But we go by the readings of the machine,” quipped an officer.

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