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Cops duck drink drive test

A section of the city police believes that breathalysers are no longer needed in the state capital because incidents of drink driving have seen a dip.

The police have a back-up plan though in case someone is driving in an inebriated state. The cops have given the power to the residents to inform the police if they come across people driving in “high spirits”.

For that, a resident has to follow a few steps. First, try and identify the vehicle that sped past. Then, search for a policeman nearby and inform the cop about the vehicle. Second, the cop has to contact the traffic counterpart, who will look for the “drunk” driver, with a breathalyser. Third, if the cop manages to trace the driver, he will have to undergo the breathalyser test. The driver would be penalised if found guilty. (See chart)

The police have no idea how many times the breathalysers have been used since two were bought in March 2011.

“Incidents of drunk driving have dipped in the state capital. Hence, the breathalysers are not being used. However, if any person spots a inebriated driver, he/she can contact the cops on roads. Thereafter, the cop would do the needful,” a senior police officer said on Friday.

On what if the driver escapes, the officer added: “Nothing can be done in such a case. The police are always patrolling but drunk driving is not a major menace anymore,” the police officer added.

The accident figures state otherwise. Between January and April, 112 persons died in road accidents in Patna, a majority were fallouts of drunk driving.

“There has been a rise in accident figures. On February 27, cops recovered bodies of two youths, who had fallen into a ditch near Patna zoo. It was a case of drink driving. It cannot be said breathalysers are not being used. The equipment have been used quite a few times,” another police officer said. The two breathalysers, costing around Rs 37,000 each, were bought in March last year but were put to use only since December.

In February, the two breathalysers and the lone speedgun radar were tucked in a corner.

All attempts to contact Patna senior superintendent of police Amrit Raj proved futile. Traffic superintendent Chandrika Prasad said why the two breathalysers are not being used.

“The police do check the amount of liquor consumed by a driver. We need to check the number of such drunk driving incidents that have occurred recently,” the officer said.