Convicted drunk drivers who cause a fatality on India’s roads could now receive life imprisonment, according to The Times of India. Up until now, a drunk driver involved in a fatal accident would receive a maximum of just two years and potentially a fine. But, with an average of 19 drunk driving deaths occurring every day, police in Madhya Pradesh are making a stand.
Police have been requested to investigate any drunk driving fatality as a case of death due to negligence, rather than the previous section used of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. As a result, any convicted party will be faced with life imprisonment, or a 10-year prison sentence and a costly fine. It is hoped that this increased punishment will deter Indians from jumping behind the wheel of their car when they’ve got alcohol in their system.
A growing problem
Drunk driving is a growing problem across India. Last New Year’s Eve, more than 2,000 motorists were caught driving while drunk in the country’s major cities. Meanwhile, 33,000 were held for drunk driving in New Delhi in the first ten months of 2018. These figures show that recent government drunk driving campaigns and initiatives have failed to make their mark with motorists.
Protecting the nation
Both the Indian government and the general public have a role to play in ensuring that all road users are safeguarded on their roads. All motorists have a responsibility to ensure that both their vehicle and themselves are legal to be on the road. This means holding a valid auto insurance policy, and only taking to the road when below the legal limit. Insurance is also crucial when there are so many drunk drivers on the roads, as it protects vehicles in the event of an accident.
It’s likely that the Madhya Pradesh police force have opted for this harsher investigation procedure following the WHO’s critical analysis of the country’s law enforcement on drunk driving in 2015. India ranked just 4 out of 10 for road safety, due to having a higher blood alcohol threshold compared to other countries. India’s current law stipulates that driving with more than 30 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood in your system is against the law, which can result in criminal proceedings. In addition, it was highlighted that India’s drunk driving penalties weren’t tough enough compared to those in other nations.
India’s police forces are getting stricter with drunk drivers. With the threat of being imprisoned for life, it is hoped that motorists will think twice before drinking and driving which, in turn, will lead to safer roads for everyone.