Kathmandu, January 22
Traffic police have booked as many as 203,369 persons so far for driving under the influence since they launched the crackdown on drink-driving in the Kathmandu Valley on December 3, 2011.
According to the statistics released by the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, the special campaign has not only helped reduce road accidents likely to be caused by drink-driving, but has also led to a collection of more than Rs 212 million in revenue from the offenders. The MTPD punishes each offender of drink-driving with a fine of Rs 1,000.
The crackdown was launched in the wake of increasing number of road accidents associated with drink-driving in the Valley. The existing law does not say anything about alcohol limit and thus the law enforcement agency has adopted zero tolerance policy against drink-driving. The statistics suggest that the most remarkable achievement of the drive against drink-driving is a significant decrease in road accidents.
A total of 133 people were killed in 2014-15 compared to 143 in 2013-14, 147 in 2012-13, 148 in 2011-12, 171 in 2010-11, 146 in 2009-10, and 137 in 2008-09. However, the number of people who were seriously injured in road accidents witnessed a slight increase last fiscal with 233 injured against 226 in 2013-14.
In the year 2012-13, as many as 2,014 people were injured in road accidents and 396 in 2011-12, 553 in 2010-11, 748 in 2009-10, and 720 in 2008-09.
Officials said speeding, drink-driving, carelessness of the drivers, passengers and pedestrians, overload and mechanical breakdown are the leading causes of road accidents.
As part of the crackdown on drink-driving, the MTPD has recommended the concerned transport management office to suspend licences of nearly 150 drivers after they were caught driving under the influence for the sixth time.
According to Section 60 of Motor Vehicle and Transport Management Act-1993, if a driver violates traffic rules more than five times, the authority may suspend the driving licence of such drivers in the sixth instance on the basis of number of punch holes in the licence.
Seizure of a licence having five holes can be referred to the transport management offices for suspension for up to six months under Section 60 of the Act. Traffic cops punch a hole on the bottom left corner of the driving licence for each offence. The MTPD toughened the crackdown on December 7, 2012, claiming that a fine of Rs 1‚000 and mandatory attendance of a 20-minute lecture on traffic safety could not deter the drunk drivers.
A version of this article appears in print on January 24, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.