Highway Research Record

Study on Drunken Driving in Kerala

Duration:September 2004 to March 2005
National Transportation Planning and Research Centre, Thiruvananthapuram (R)

Scope and Objectives
The study was confined to the drivers of 2-wheelers, 3-wheelers and 4-wheelers on highways at the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram city with the objectives
(i) To estimate the level of drunken driving and geographical variation in incidence rate of drunken driving
(ii) To study the characteristics of drivers, who indulge in drunken driving.
(iii) To develop strategies for controlling the incidence of drunken driving and (iv) To develop educational materials about evils      of drunken driving.

The methodology adopted for the study consists of the following stages,
(i) Review of literatures on
• Motor vehicle act regarding drunken driving in India and other countries
• Impact of alcohol on different categories of people at different blood alcohol concentrations.
• Different methods to find out the blood alcohol concentration of drivers under the influence of alcohol.
(ii) Conducted the breath analyzer tests at different locations with the assistance of police and collected characteristics of     drivers.
(iii) Detailed analysis of collected data to know the characteristics of drivers.
(iv) Collected and analysed secondary data from police and excise departments.
(v) Working out strategies for controlling the incidence of drunken driving.

The motor vehicle Act 1939, amended up to 1989 contains a clause 117,which states that driving by a person found to have any quantity of alcohol in his blood is punishable. But in November 1994 the law of amended as MVA 185, which states that a driver having up to 30 mg of intake per 100 ml of blood has been permitted to drive.
From the survey it was observed that 36 percent of the drivers had consumed alcohol but only 22 percent of them had crossed the limit of 3 mg. Most of the drunken drivers were two wheeler drivers in the age group 25 to 35 years. Most of them were no professional drivers and they are from monthly income of less than Rs 10,000.
Different stringent measures in Motor vehicle Act to reduce drunken driving have been suggested in this study as,
• Automatic license revocation appears to be the single most effective measure to reduce drunk driving. Not only is license    revocation effective, but also we should remember that driving is a privilege, not a right. Just as we do not license those    who lack eyesight, we should not hesitate to revoke the licenses of those who lack the good judgment not to drive drunk.
• Automatic license revocation along with a mandatory jail sentence appears to be even more effective than just automatic    license revocation Apart from strict laws, voluntary organization/NGO should campaign against drunken driving and educate    the drivers specially the youths against the drunken driving. Regular drive against drunken drivers by breath analyzer tests by    the police along with NGOs working in road safety will have a positive impact against the drunken driving.