Hushed fines, and quick escapes are a thing of the past when it comes to punishing drunk driving in the southern city of Hyderabad.
Drivers caught under the influence of alcohol will now have to perform community service. The new jurisdiction involves guilty drivers --after paying a fine of Rs 2,000 -- to stand at road junctions for three hours holding placards and distributing pamphlets to spread awareness about road safety over a period of three days.
“We have devised a plan for each traffic police station where these violators would be assigned to. Without causing inconvenience to their regular work, they could come and do the social service of three hours for three days,” said the traffic commissioner in an interview.
According to a report in the Hindu, 36 people were sentenced in the city to community service by the 3 and 4 Metropolitan Magistrate Courts, Erramanzil after being caught with elevated levels of alcohol in the blood on Tuesday, this week. They had to assist traffic officials at the Public Garden rotary near Traffic Control Room, and were also made to hold placards that showcased messages on road safety and drunk driving.
A senior Hyderabad-based police official also said people were scared all this while to drink and drive because they might land in prison. "They feel that their future might get spoilt if this happens. Even if somebody went to prison nobody knew about it unlike this one. Imagine, a person from well-to-do family actually standing near junction with a placard. This is more about embarrassing them so that they would not repeat the offence again.”
Traffic officials can also assign offenders to government hospitals where a list of certain tasks (given by the supervisor of the hospital) is required to be completed by them as a part of their punishment. The permissible limit of alcohol content in one’s blood is 30mg per litre of blood. The offenders who were caught on Tuesday and given community service had a blood alcohol content (BAC) between 31 and 100 mgpl, while those who had more than 100 mgpl were sent to prison.