Drunk drivers cause 65% of Delhi road accidents: NGO



New Delhi: Nearly 65 percent of around 12,000 road accidents in the national capital in 2008 were caused by drunk drivers, according to a new report prepared by an NGO.

The 2009 Delhi Drunken Driving Report prepared by the Campaign Against Drunken Driving (CADD) says Delhi "loses 1,500 people every year" in accidents caused by drunk drivers.

CADD founder Prince Singhal said: "The report which studies the drunk driving pattern in the capital over the last decade has some astonishing figures about the prevalence of drinking among youth, commercial drivers, school children, women and the city's pub culture."

Three out of 10 drivers in Delhi at night are drunk, the report claims. "Enforcement by police is weak as not even one percent of the 30,000 offenders are prosecuted on a regular basis."

Drivers also tend to flout more traffic rules when drunk, said the report, adding that "drunken driving causes drivers to break road safety rules like wearing seat belts, not using mobile phones, adhering to speed limits and not jumping red lights".

The report added that the highest mortality in such accidents was among those below the age of 5 and in the 21-34 year age group. Around 17 percent of government hospital beds are occupied by road accident victims in drunk driving cases.

The report also highlights the city's evolving pub culture.

"Nearly 40 percent of those in the age group of 16 to 25 years drink while on the road -- either in their cars, near liquor vends, petrol pumps or parks and market places."

Drinking among women aged 26 to 30 years has gone up from 24.2 percent in 2001 to 41 percent in 2008, the report claims.

The report also claims that Blueline bus drivers -- infamous for causing a large number of road accidents and fatalities -- as well as truck drivers often drive under the influence of alcohol. "Around 30.3 percent Blueline drivers and 43.1 percent truck drivers admit to drunken driving."

Singhal said: "Drunken driving is such a visible crime but still our system fails to recognise it. Why is it that such a crime that kills lakhs of people every year can't be made a non-bailable offence or have driver's licence suspended immediately?"

IANS