KATHMANDU, March 15: It seems that the intensified police campaign has not deterred drink-driving in the Valley.
Three months on since the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD), Ramsahapath, launched the campaign against drink-driving, the number of people getting punished for drink-driving has not declined.
According to MTPD, the number of people punished for drink driving has surprisingly gone up over the last two months. The MTPD has been penalizing at least 200 people on an average every night for drink-driving, but if the data are anything to go by, the average number is on an increasing trend.
MPTD had punished 1,353 people in December and 2,831 people in January while 5,504 people were punished in February alone for drink-driving. Likewise, 3,383 people have been punished from March 1 to March 12.
Police had punished 447 people on March 9 for drink driving, the highest number on a single night till date since the campaign was launched on December 3, 2011.
Police officials, however, beg to differ. They argue that the increasing number of people punished for drink-driving is a result of intensified police checking not just on highways but also in the alleys.
“The number of people punished for drink-driving is increasing because we have intensified our checking,” said DIG Ganesh Raj Rai, chief of Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, Ramsahapath.
MTPD has collected more than Rs 10 million in revenues from people punished for drink-driving. MTPD fines Rs 1,000 for drink-driving.
Zero tolerance on drink-driving
Despite widespread protest from restaurateurs and civilians, MTPD has decided to continue with its policy of zero tolerance on drink-driving.
DIG Rai said, “The roads are very narrow and don´t have proper lights as well. We don´t have CCTVs like in Europe and America, so zero tolerance on drink-driving is a must.”
He added that the laws of the country do not allow drink driving. Clause 142 under vehicle and transport management act 2049 prohibits alcohol or drug consumption while driving. DIG Rana claimed that anti-drink-driving campaign has been effective in curbing night-time accidents.
Breathalyzers yet to arrive
Though the police had vowed to introduce breathalyzers within three weeks after the anti-drink-driving campaign was launched, they are yet to reach Nepal. Officials at the police headquarters informed that delay is due to alterations in specifications.
“The delivery of breathalyzers has been delayed as we changed its specification,” said DIG Binod Singh, spokesperson for the Nepal Police. He said they would introduce breathalyzers with rechargeable batteries to make them cost effective.
The police headquarters had placed an order for more than 350 breathalyzers from Singapore.