Published : Times of India
One for the road No way.I took only beer,how can I be drunk is the most frequently heard argument by traffic police in Bangalore.If everyone is to be believed,consumption of beer in the city would have increased tenfold.Also,most feel it is OK to drink beer irrespective of the quantity and drive around.
Whatever one drinks and how much,the rational test of sobriety is alcohol content in the blood which can be measured by breath analyzers.If the reading turns out to be beyond permissible limit,the argument does not end.I have been driving like this for decades and nothing has happened to me or I am as good a driver as anyone else even after taking my shots. However,if one survived driving drunk for 20 years,there is no guarantee that an accident will not happen the next moment.
To negate the above argument,there is a simple counter-question.How would one feel if the airline pilot announced before take-off Welcome aboard.Your pilot has taken a small dose of alcohol but he is fully in control and will fly you safely to your destination. Or if the doctor before operating a close relative said,Dont worry,I have taken a peg of whisky but I have been doing it since ages. I wonder how many of us will not jump out of the aircraft or out of the hospital window!
When one drives under the influence of alcohol,besides risking his/her own life,that of other road users is also put to danger.Incidents of drunk drivers running over pedestrians and even policemen are not unheard of.Besides,hundreds die in self-accidents that involve no collision but error of judgement under influence of liquor.
The police initiative in the form of checking does not mean that they are out to spoil others party.Recall that cops propagate drink responsibly instead of dont drink.In case one wants to get sozzled,make arrangements to be dropped home by someone sober a friend,spouse or a cab driver.
But what is more surprising is non-drinkers complaining of harassment by such checks.If one doesnt drink and drive,one should welcome such stringent checking as it makes life safer.There is no technology to know by looking at the face as to who is drunk and who isnt.Not everyone is a terrorist or a hijacker,yet,all have to go through stringent checks at airports.
By consuming alcohol,you dont automatically get on the wrong side of the law.There is a permissible limit and ways and means of remaining sober by following certain eating and drinking protocols.However,if caught and found above limit,one should be graceful to accept ones fault.All one has to do is to accept the notice and surrender the original documents which can be released after attending court next day.There is no need to surrender the vehicle as long as someone else in a sober state is able to drive it back home.No fine needs to be paid on the spot.Hence,any attempt to offer money to avoid going to court is as culpable as taking bribe.Courts can even imprison repeat offenders.Causing death by driving under the influence of liquor can result in being booked under culpable homicide.
Concepts like a designated driver where one member of the group takes responsibility for dropping others home by remaining sober,dial-a-taxi and even dial-a-driver are catching the fancy of hotels and clubs who are our stake-holders in the endeavour to make roads safer.Choosing the above options can be encouraged by our most important stake-holders worried parents and waiting spouses.What better example of a citizendriven initiative could we ever have .
Author: Praveen Sood
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