Consider counsel’s suggestion to curb drunken driving: Court

March 26th, 2009 - 10:56 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Thursday asked the government to consider the steps suggested by a lawyer, who appeared in a drink-and-drive case, to curb the menace.
Amicus Curiae (friend of court) Anup J. Bhambhani, in his suggestions submitted to Justice J.R. Midha, said that to curb drunken driving the government should follow the rule in some industrialised countries where the establishment that served the drink to the driver is also held responsible for the crime.

“Managers (of the establishments) can suggest the driver leave his car keys with him and then ensure that the driver is allowed to drive only if he is sober. If that is not possible then he may also offer him a cab,” Bhambhani submitted in court.

In India, research shows that 270 deaths per day occur due to drunken driving and more than 5,000 cases are reported every day.

The suggestions also include that drivers who are multiple offenders forfeit their vehicles.

“Breath-test roadblocks should be placed at locations that are impossible to avoid. Regular checks at most vulnerable areas, like bars and pubs, would help. Refusal to take the breath-test should result in cancellation of licence,” the counsel said in his report.

“Marking licence plates to indicate ownership of vehicle if a driver’s licence is suspended or revoked for alcohol offences can also act as a deterrent. Purpose is to caution other drivers on the road and also to provide a form of social sanction against offenders.”

The state government should also provide adequate information on alcohol and driving to prospective drivers and adequately test them before giving licences.

Bhambhani proposed that “Sections 337 (causing simple hurt), 338 (causing grievous hurt) and 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code should be amended in a manner that if a person is driving under the influence of alcohol, aggravating circumstances of rashness and negligence will automatically apply to such cases”.

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