Hyderabad: With the Telangana government extending timing for bars, pubs and liquor stores by an hour on New Year’s Eve, traffic police are also gearing up to stay put on the roads till 2 am to catch revellers driving under the influence of alcohol.
Till now, traffic cops were conducting drunk driving checks till 12 am or 12.30 am as liquor stores shut at 10 pm, and bars and pubs stop serving by 11 pm.
“At present, we are conducting checks from 6 pm till midnight and once the bars start operating till midnight, we will also conduct checks beyond 1 am,” Cyberabad deputy commissioner of police (DCP) (traffic) Avinash Mohanty told TOI.
In view of the fatal accidents on the Outer Ring Road (ORR), Cyberabad police were also conducting drunken driving checks at toll booths of the ORR and they were registering a good number of cases. “We are conducting DD checks even on the outskirts like Ghatkesar, Shamirpet, Keesara, and Medchal,” Cyberabad commisioner CV Anand said.
Though prepared to conduct checks till 1.30 am or beyond, if required, police plan to use the surprise factor to instil fear among the offenders. “We deploy about 25 teams during the weekends, while on other days fewer. To not become predictable, we will frequently change the location of check points, deploy more teams in an area and change the duration of checks,” Hyderabad additional CP (traffic) Jitender told TOI. .
Despite increased awareness and fear of getting caught among revellers due to strict enforcement in the city, the number of drunk driving cases has increased from last year.
So far this year, 3,000 drunk driving offenders were handed out imprisonment in Hyderabad, 500 more than the previous year. In Cyberabad, 700 persons were sent to jail this year.
Considering driving under the influence of alcohol as a serious offence, city courts have started awarding jail terms up to several months to repeat offenders and community service punishment to first timers.
Cyberabad police had registered 12,031 drunken driving cases in 2014 and by December 18, they have already booked 15,113 cases. On the other hand, the Hyderabad police had registered 15,389 drunken driving cases in 2014 and till December 17, they have registered 15,332 cases.