Less than 20 percent of motorists caught for drunk driving in Mumbai in 2016 got their licenses suspended, while 40 percent claimed they did not posses a license at all, a traffic police report has said.
The data, first reported by the TOI, shows that 20,768 people were caught for the offence in 2016.
Of them, 8,031 (roughly 40 percent) told traffic officials that they did not possess a valid driving license at the time of getting caught. From the ones that did, only 3,826 (under 20 percent) got their licenses suspended.
The total fine collected from all drunk driving offenders stood at Rs 4.29 crore.
While instances of motorists driving without a license are common, a majority of those caught for drunk driving choose to not produce their license to avoid suspension.
According to a senior official with Kurla traffic police, “If a person is caught while driving under the influence, then his or her license is suspended for three months. Instead, if they don’t have a license, they are charged a higher penalty. Most prefer to pay that penalty instead of risking the suspension of their license.”
“I am sure more than 50 percent of drivers in such cases have a license, but choose not to produce it,” he said.
Traffic expert, Santosh Singh, believes that the problem of ‘non-licensed drunk drivers’ can be addressed to an extent.
“The traffic department can setup a centralised database that can check for licenses against an Aadhar card or PAN card. In addition, the cops can confiscate the vehicle for some days or make imprisonment compulsory if an offender is caught driving drunk and without a license. Both these will act as better deterrents than high fines,” Singh told Local Press Co.
Statistics about drunk driving released by Mumbai Traffic Police:
Drunk driving cases in Mumbai in 2016: 20,768 (includes two and four wheelers)
Drunk drivers who produced a driving license after getting caught: 12,737
Drunk drivers who did not produce a license after getting caught: 8,031
Licenses suspended: 3,826
Area wise split of drunk driving cases: Western region (5,981), Norther region (5,475), Eastern region (3.098), Central Eastern region (3,023), Central region (2,221) and Southern region (970)