Drunken Driving and Accident Risks on Indian Roads

Alcohol has been found to play a major role in the cause of traffic crashes.  Alcohol and driving do not mix but still people love to drink and drive resulting in numerous road accidents.  It is a malady that is a world menace and based on statistics, road accidents cause 1.2 million deaths and 50 million injuries around the world each year. After consummation of alcohol , however miniscule the amount, judgment power is impaired which is what leads to hasty, impractical and unnecessary decisions while driving.  Aggression, risks and longer reaction time are a threat to road safety.

In India, in the last five years, road accidents due to drunken driving have increased two fold in UP, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal while they have fallen in Maharashtra, Himachal and Rajasthan.  In 2008 drunken driving was the cause of 20,150 accidents while this figure went up to 27,152 in 2009. In a recent survey conducted by Community Against Drunken Driving, states that Mumbai and Delhi have the highest number of such cases in the country.  Prosecution rate has increased 16times in the past five years.  Another survey conducted with inputs from National Crime Records and WHO states that 56 accidents and 14 deaths occur on Indian roads every hour.  In 2001 in Delhi 1,545 people were killed in accidents while in 2010 11,388 persons lost their lives in Delhi.  In Mumbai in 2001 1000 persons lost their lives while this figure has increased to 16,290 in 2010.

According to the report, drunken driving has been responsible for 70% of road fatalities in Mumbai and Delhi. The statistics are startling but what can be done to curb this hazard?  Awareness camps, strict rules and heavy fines, imprisonment and confiscation of licenses need to be implemented.  Licenses to bar owners on highways need to be curbed and State Governments need to review cases of licenses already given to liquor vendors along the major highways of the country so that corrective action can be taken. In India, drunken driving is commonly seen among truck and commercial vehicle drivers.  Private car owners and youngsters too are major offenders.  Party goers returning home at ungodly hours are also not without blame.  To make matters worse, India has laws to check drunken driving but its implementation  is yet to be streamlined and stricter and more stringent laws need to come into effect on a war footing.