They say, don’t mix drinking with driving. And even though this must be the most cliched and beaten-to-death thing to say whenever the topic of safe driving comes up, it cannot be emphasised enough. Every intention of driving safely gets thwarted when a person finds it okay to drive even after having “just two beers”. National Crime Records Bureau’s report on ‘Accidental Deaths and Suicides’ in India 2015 says that approximately 8 deaths on the road are the result of driving under the influence, which is believed to be a tamer version of the actual numbers. A quantity as low as 0.6 ounces in 12 ounces of beer is enough to make a person tipsy and is often brushed off as casual drinking. It is important to note that drinking not only numbs down your senses but affect your motor and fine motor skills considerably. Sadly, youngsters have a big share in the ever increasing cases of drunk driving. A survey conducted in the capital city revealed least 45% Delhiites below the age of 25 spend between Rs.8,000-20,000 per month on alcohol, and this age group is also the bracket of active drivers. With the number of accidents due to drunk driving spiking as much as 50% in New Delhi alone, it is becoming even more important to put checks on the same.
This problem is not unique to India alone, but is close to becoming a worldwide epidemic as well. According to the WHO’s Global Status report on Road Safety for 2015, South Africa sees the worst face of drunk driving, with 58% of road accidents being attributed to the same, while Canada and the United States of America standing at 34% and 31% in the same survey. General trends for holidays such as the fourth of July and Christmas in the United States indicate that there is a spike in the number of fatalities on the days of big festivities. This is a reflection of the careless attitude that most people tend to have towards this problem.
Much work needs to be done not only in India, but across the globe. Although some countries, especially in the West, have shown necessary strictness, or at least that’s what the data tells. In the United States, all states define driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above .08 as a crime, but specific laws and penalties vary substantially from state to state, with somes states having specific BAC limits for commercial drivers and drivers who have previous DUI offenses. In Canada it is a criminal offence to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08, or 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. Drinking drivers at lower BACs are dealt with under provincial and territorial traffic acts.
No matter how good a driver you are, in trying to drive while drunk, it is an absolute certainty that your body will betray you, if not the first time then the next. It’s high time that the life of the other person and your own is placed at a higher priority than the satisfaction of your ego or the perceived idea of what might “turn out to be fun”. Better safe than sorry!