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A greater push against drunken driving – the law tightening the screws on offenders




In the wester countries (and in many of the countries in Asia such as Singapore and Hong Kong), there are huge pressures that prevent drunken driving. Drunken driving is treated as a crime that can bring in severe penalties on the person who is accused of the crime, and is justified by the fact that drunken driving is seen as a preventable action that can cause deadly accidents. Statistics also show that drunken driving cause many accidents the world over, many of which lead to casualties and also inflict economic damage.
Punishments for people caught when being drunk while driving can be stiff – it can mean the driving license being suspended for months, it can mean having to spend some time in jail (even if over-night), and it can mean severe fines. In India, however, there has not been much of a focus on punishments for drunken driving. There would be campaigns near New Year and other times of the year when there would be a lot more partying, but even then the fine system would be in place. Even if a fine is of Rs. 1000 or more for drunken driving, the impact of such a punishment on people is limited.

It is only recently that more severe punishments such as spending some time in jail, or suspending the licenses were started, and these have a more deterrent effect. People are scared of such punishments, such as in the case where people are jailed for a period of upto 10 days. These increased punishments are also being supported by the judicial system, whereby cases filed by people who have been prosecuted for drunken driving come up in appeal (link to article):

NEW DELHI: A trial court has expressed concern over the increasing number of drunk driving cases and ordered to arrest forthwith a man found guilty in such a case to serve 10 days in jail.
Additional sessions judge (ASJ) Anju Bajaj Chandna passed the order while deciding an appeal by the convict who had pleaded that he should be let off only with fine. Endorsing the magisterial court’s order holding the man guilty, the court also observed that the imposition of fine alone was not acting as sufficient deterrent.
“Keeping in view the rise of such offences in the society and further that imposition of fine has not been sufficient deterrent for such offenders, I am not inclined to interfere with the order of sentence so passed by metropolitan magistrate,” the ASJ said.




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