Highway Liquor Ban

In the three months including April, May, and June the number of drink-driving cases in Maharashtra has gone down by an astounding 40%. In the same period the number of people dying or getting injured from such accidents has also come down. The reduction has been mapped as being somewhere between 11 and 14%. These figures are the result of the ban that has been imposed on consuming alcohol on highways by the Supreme Court. Yes, it is true that potholes on the streets still remain a deadly factor and lead to perhaps more than their fair share of accidents.

Drivers being more cautious

However, if the data of road accidents between April 1 and June 30 is assessed one thing becomes rather clear – people have become a lot more cautious when it comes to driving on the highways. The reduction of 40% that has already been talked about is in relation to the number of similar cases – drunk-driving – in the same period in 2016. Maharashtra Police has also provided data whereby it can be seen quite clearly that compared to the same period in 2016 the number minor accidents has come down by approximately 21%. Minor accidents are basically ones where there are no injuries as such.

Judging the long-term impact

Amitesh Kumar, the Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) of Maharashtra, has said that right now it would be too early to judge what effect this ban on drinking liquor on the highway would have in the long term. He has however said that the fact that accidents are going down is a positive pattern. Kumar has also said that police have intervened in a positive manner in this case and motorists have cooperated as well in order to make the whole thing a success so far. Motorists have played their part by refraining from consuming alcohol prior to driving.

Initiatives taken by the police

Kumar has said that the state police has taken a number of positive steps in this regard. It has set up “alco-booths” at hotels so that people are able to measure their blood alcohol levels before they start to drive. This particular initiative has been really instrumental in the proper implementation and execution of the ban so far. A senior police officer, who analyses data pertaining to drink driving and road accidents, has said that the ban is not the only reason why cases of drunk-driving and road accidents on highways have gone down.

What is the actual scenario?

The officer in question says that most of the cases where decline is being shown are from towns and cities that have lesser number of state or national highways. This officer also reveals that in any case the number of such incidents was lower on highways as opposed to the ordinary roads. Incidentally, as revealed by this officer, there are still dhabas in the state that serve liquor. People in the excise department are saying that the ban will be imposed even more harshly in the future and this would include raiding eateries and other sources of illegal alcohol. It is expected that this would further reduce such cases.