Traffic police increase safety checks to curb drink driving on New Year’s EveThamel and Durbarmarg to be under special surveillance with checkpoints set up at 12 different places manned by 150 traffic police personnel.
In a bid to curb driving under the influence incidents and road accidents on New Year’s Eve on Friday, the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division has announced further tightening of traffic rules.
The division office has announced plans to establish checkpoints in 65 different places in the Kathmandu Valley–Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur, focussed on deterring drivers from getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol.
“People go out with friends and family to celebrate the new year and most people consume alcohol. They drive under the influence that subsequently endangers their own and other people’s lives,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police Santosh Roka at the Division.
The division office announced that Thamel and Durbarmarg will be under special surveillance with checkpoints set up at 12 different places manned by 150 traffic police personnel, according to Roka.
The cases of drink driving tend to increase during the festive season, including Christmas and New Year.
On Christmas Eve this year, the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division booked 150 drunk drivers, out of which eighty percent were driving two-wheelers.
Those booked for Mapase, the Nepali acronym for drink driving, were released after paying a fine of Rs 1,000, and attending an hour of mandatory class on traffic rules, said Roka.
The use of breathalysers by traffic police to detect the consumption of alcohol by drivers has drawn widespread criticism in the post-Covid scenario.
Superintendent of Police Sanjib Sharma Das, also the spokesperson at the division, said the traffic police will opt for breathalyser tests only if the situation demands.
“We won’t put people through the breathalyser tests needlessly. We will use it only on those who we suspect have consumed alcohol,” said Das.
“Even for drunk drivers, we will keep them with us and ask them to call for someone to drive them to their destinations,” he said.
The traffic police personnel say the increased use of ride-sharing apps in Kathmandu Valley has decreased the number of drink driving cases in the Valley.
“We don’t have the actual data, but there is some level of awareness among drivers about the dangers of drink driving. That’s why most of them opt for ride-sharing services when drunk,” said Roka.
“My estimate would be that increased use of ride-sharing services has led to a decrease in drink driving incidents by 20 percent,” said Roka.
Implemented from 2013, the campaign against Mapase launched by the traffic police has been one of the most successful drives in curbing road accidents.