This Article is From Jul 13, 2016

Driving Drunk In Hyderabad? You Will Get Compulsory Counselling

Those caught during night are made to go through only one counselling session.

Hyderabad: Over 100 people, of all ages and from all walks of life, had assembled at a function hall next to the police station in posh Banjara Hills on Tuesday. Caught driving drunk during the day, they had been asked to take a 3-day counselling session, where they are to be sensitized about the consequences of their actions.

The initiative of the police comes on the heels of the death of a 10-year-old schoolgirl, which had evoked outrage in the city.

Ramya's car had been involved in a head-on collision on July 2. The other car was driven by 20-year-old Shravil, who was on way home from a local bar with a group of friends.

Along with Ramya, her 35-year-old uncle Rajesh had died. Her three relatives -- another uncle, mother and grandfather -- who were in the car, had sustained injuries.

Srinivas, the father-in-law of Rajesh, said his daughter and 3-year-old grandson were to leave for the US two days later. "Some say it is fate. It is not. It is the irresponsible behaviour and negligence of those who drink and drive. Parents should also be prosecuted,'' he said.

This is not an isolated incident. Over the last four years, around 74,000 people have been booked for drunken driving. At least 30 per cent of them are between 21 and 30 years old. In the last 18 months, there were 1,067 cases of drink driving during the day time.

"The numbers are really high, but we are not going to let this continue. We will catch each one of them and make sure they don't drink and drive again,'' said LS Chauhan, DCP Traffic, Hyderabad.

At the counselling session, the attendees -- not just students but professionals, private and government employees and businessmen -- are told about the consequences of drink driving, it's psychological and health impact.

Those caught during night are made to go through only one counselling session. Those caught during the day have to attend classes for three days -a move that might just shame them into compliance.

Avinash, who was among those attending the counselling session, agreed that liquor causes accidents and fights at home. But he said it was his driver who was drunk and not him.

Couple of others NDTV spoke to would also not admit to drunken driving. ''I came to meet the Assistant Commissioner,'' said one. ''My vehicle number plate is not okay,'' said another. Others simply hid their faces.