The state government has decided to suspend driving licenses of people for a specific period if their bikes or vehicles violate traffic rules and cause accidents.
A committee, constituted by the Supreme Court, recently directed all states to strictly implement the rule under Section 19 of Motor Vehicle Act, 1988.
“The committee directs states to suspend driving licenses for a period of not less than three months for driving at a speed exceeding the specified limits, overloading goods carriages and transporting people in goods carriages, driving vehicles under the influence of alcohol and using cellphone while driving.”
The committee has further directed police to prosecute drunk drivers and ensure imprisonment.
Police sources said 9,640 road accidents were reported in the state last year in which 3,920 people died and 11,083 were injured.
According to transport minister Ramesh Majhi, most accidents took place due to overspeeding, drunk driving and driving while using cellphones.
In compliance to the directive of the Supreme Court committee on road safety, the state government has directed all regional transport officers to execute the order of the committee. The transport department has asked the two RTOs in Bhubaneswar and commissionerate of police to give priority to the order of the Supreme Court committee as traffic rules are currently being executed in Bhubaneswar only.
Official sources said 2,295 violators were detected while driving under the influence of alcohol in the first seven months of this year. Fine of nearly Rs 11.60 lakh was collected from them as traffic compounding fee. The fine amount ranges from Rs 200 to Rs 500 under Odisha Urban Police Act.
“To curb drunk driving, we have started zeroing on tipsy people near bars, liquor off shops and dhabas. Our intention is not to spoil their party, but to prevent them from taking the risk of driving after drinking.” –
ACP (traffic) Jatin Panda.
Challenges for Traffic Cops
When asked why police crackdowns are not conducted regularly, some traffic police officers ascribed it to staff shortage. At times the tipsy bikers throw challenge for police by zooming away.
According to traffic cops, it is difficult to catch youths who ride at breakneck speed. The cops chase them in vans or patrolling bikes apprehending accidents. However, sometimes their distorted number plates create problems in identifying them and tracking down the violators.