Drunk drivers in Hyderabad this year have contributed Rs 8.32 crore as fines to the state exchequer, more than Rs 2.6 crore higher than last year’s figures. The Hyderabad traffic police have also caught more drunk drivers, but have sent fewer to jail than the previous year, according to their 2019 annual report.
The Hyderabad police this year have booked 27,737 persons for drunk driving within the commissionerate and have charge-sheeted 27,010 of the offenders. These figures are higher than in 2018 when there recorded 26,856 drunken driving cases and 26,500 charge sheets.
Traffic cops however have sent fewer persons to jail for the offence this year. As many as 5,184 persons were convicted and jailed for drunk driving in 2018. However this year, police jailed around 4,362 for the offence. Fewer drivers licences were suspended this year — 1103 — than the previous year at 1375.
The drop in convictions is also reflective across other traffic violations. Violations such as cell phone driving and minor driving received no convictions this year. This despite 7,332 more people being caught for cell phone driving and 374 more minors being caught for driving when compared to 2018.
The few convictions for traffic violations is being attributed to the higher fines that are now being collected under the amended Motor Vehicles Act. “The fine amounts are going up and so the conviction rates are coming down,” Hyderabad police commissioner Anjani Kumar told the media on Thursday.
The new penalties under the MVA came into effect across the country on September 1. The Telangana state government enforced the Act in the state only after diluting the steep fines proposed under the central act.
Under the new rules, if one is caught driving without a seat belt, a fine of Rs 1,000 will be imposed (it was Rs 100 earlier). If one is caught using a mobile phone, while driving, it will invite a fine of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000.
Drunk driving earlier used to invite a fine of Rs 2,000. Now, it has been hiked to Rs 10,000. In another move, a driver can be fined Rs 10,000 for not giving way to emergency vehicles, such as an ambulance and fire brigade.
In Hyderabad this year, while there have been fewer deaths, more people have suffered injuries. A total of 2,377 accidents were recorded within the Hyderabad commissionerate, with 261 deaths, 32 fewer than the previous year. These accidents have resulted in 2,526 persons injured, 91 more than 2018. There have been fewer deaths and injuries among pedestrians also this year, informed the police.