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Retaliation fear poser on tipple drive

Police in the state capital are wary of checking motorists under the influence of alcohol perceiving a threat of violence if the person comes clean in the breathalyser test.

A day after the state government made a mockery of itself by filing a counter affidavit in Patna High Court stating that no drink driving takes place in the city, the men-in-uniform countered it claiming that they catch 30 to 40 people on an average every month involved in driving in an inebriated state.

The police, however, said checking for drink driving was “risky” business and could lead to “an untoward situation” anytime.

“It is not possible that drink driving doesn’t happen in Patna. It happens in the cities and the state capital is no exception. On an average, the police book around 30 to 40 persons every month. But here, the job is risky. People can take offence and the incident can spiral out of control. We can land in trouble,” a police officer told The Telegraph.

At present, the traffic police have 17 breathalysers at their disposal.

“The breathalysers were earlier with the traffic police but now have been distributed among the different police stations of Patna as well as on some important roundabouts which witnesses heavy traffic. However, one cannot check each and everyone for driving under influence of liquor. The situation here is also very different. If they are checked using the machines and the person comes clean, the situation can turn very bad soon. The police, however, use all their means. Checks, though not very regular, are conducted and fines are levied,” another police officer said.

Any person under the influence of alcohol, driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle and found to have an alcohol level exceeding 30mg/100ml of blood dete- cted by a breathalyser is punished for the first offe- nce with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to six months or a fine up to Rs 2,000 or both under Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act.

“From time to time, the police start a drive against many traffic offences, which also includes drink driving. Yahaan par sambhal ke karna padta hai (we have to be careful while doing it). It is always a better option to come near a person to know whether he is drunk or not than using a breathalyser, as a majority is against it in Patna,” an officer said.

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