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Kolkata motorists less resistant to alcohol tests, say police

Over 330 people have been prosecuted for drink driving in November till Friday with very few refusing to get their breath analysed

Monalisa Chaudhuri | Published 28.11.21, 03:04 AM
Representational file image

Representational file image

Resistance to undergoing alcohol tests on the roads at night is less these days compared to earlier, police officers who have been on the roads over the past few weeks said.

The officers attribute this change to realisation among motorists that checks are the norm and drink-driving is an offence.


Over 330 people have been prosecuted for drink driving in November till Friday with very few reports of resistance from motorists who were approached for tests.

Pre-pandemic, a majority of motorists, police said, used to either refuse to blow into the breathalysers or start dropping names to try and get away without undergoing the test.

“Earlier, resistance was a common response when we asked someone to blow through the machine (breathalyser). Most of them would say: Aapni janen aami ke? (Do you know who I am?). But now, things are a lot better. People are more submissive,” said an officer in south Calcutta.

Several officers Metro spoke to said they had come across motorists who would claim that they were “perfectly fit to drive” to slip away without undergoing the test but ended up with results that showed double the permissible limit of alcohol in the bloodstream.

“At least till Saturday afternoon, we have not come across any motorist who tried to make such excuses,” said a senior officer in Shakespeare Sarani police station.

An officer posted near Golpark said one major reason why motorists are not resisting is because cops now open sealed straws in front of them and attach it to the machine every time someone is made to undergo the test.

“New straws are used every time the test is conducted. There is no excuse to say no,” the officer said.

Calcutta police had stopped alcohol tests last year because of the pandemic.

The tests resumed this month.

All 25 traffic guards have started conducting the test at two locations every night, stopping four-wheelers and two-wheelers and asking the drivers to blow through the machine.

Areas under the Jorabagan traffic guard, covering pockets of north Calcutta, have reported the maximum — 96 — prosecutions for drink driving this month, followed by areas like Red Road, AJC Bose Road, JL Nehru Road, which fall under the south traffic guard where 25 prosecutions have been reported.

Tiljala and the east traffic guard, which cover parts of EM Bypass and popular stretches like Park Street, Camac Street, Shakespeare Sarani, respectively, have reported 24 cases each.

According to section 185 of the motor vehicles act, a person can be imprisoned for up to six months or asked to pay a fine of Rs 2,000 if alcohol exceeding 30mg per 100ml is detected in the bloodstream through a breathalyser. Second and subsequent offences can lead to imprisonment for two years or a fine of Rs 3,000.

In Calcutta, a person accused of drink driving usually faces trial only if the offence is clubbed with other offences under the Indian Penal Code such as rash driving, causing grievous hurt or death by a rash and negligent act. Based on the police’s new yardstick for what constitutes a serious driving offence, sitting at the wheel with more than the permitted alcohol level in the body alone merits trial.

Last updated on 28.11.21, 03:04 AM

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