Anup Ojha, The Kathmandu Post, 02 January 2019
Traffic police booked 1,817 motorists for various violations on New Year’s Eve on Monday.
Officers issued 217 tickets for drunk driving, 189 for violating lane rules, 131 for using pressure horns, 133 for parking haphazardly, 31 tickets to taxi drivers who refused to go in meter, and remaining others for not having documents and for two-wheel drivers riding without a helmet.
The strict implementation of the traffic police’s anti drunk-driving campaign has helped significantly reduce the number of fatal accidents in the Valley. The MTPD had enforced an anti drunk-driving campaign on December 3, 2011. In the first year of the campaign’s establishment, the MTPD had booked 39,667 people, in relation to drunk driving, of which 39,480 were male and 187 were female. If we look at the data collected in a span of seven years, the number of people who drive in the influence of alcohol has come down three times. As per the data given by the MTPD, in 2018/2019, 12,058 people have been booked of drunk driving, of which 12, 015 were male and 43 female.
“We have zero tolerance for drunk driving and we will continue to do so to discourage it,” said Basant Pant, MTPD chief Senior Superintendent of Police. Till date, traffic police have booked 285, 0015 drunk drivers, of which 1,590 are female. Through its successful drive, so far the MTPD has raised Rs280 million as revenue.
Because of the traffic police’s strong surveillance, on Monday evening, the valley only saw 31 minor accidents according to the traffic police.
The MTPD had deployed 379 traffic police officers in 11 different points in Kathmandu. “The Thamel area remained the most crowded on New Year’s Eve. The traffic police had difficulty managing the crowd throughout the night in Kesharmahal and Karmachari Sanchaya Kosh,” said Sapkota.
To keep a check on drunk driving, the MTPD, throughout the night and even during the daytime on Tuesday, deployed a big number of traffic police in almost all the junctions in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur.
This stringent move of the traffic police has been welcomed by people from all corners of society. “I feel so relieved that my husband does not go out to drink as much as he used to. If he does go out, he doesn’t ride because he knows there will be traffic police in various checking points everywhere,” said Yosedha Kari, 47, from Tinkune. “This drive has saved many lives,” said Yosedha, who says she clearly remembers the time her husband had been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of Norvic Hospital a decade ago, for a week, after he met with an accident in Bijulibazar because he was driving drunk. Like Yosedha, many other wives—and mothers, brothers, fathers, sisters—are now relieved to let their near and dear ones to go out and drink during celebrations, as they are sure that the strict checking of police would not let them to ride home under the influence of alcohol.
On Monday, the MTPD also used GoPro cameras to track over speeding vehicles and booked 19 riders. With the help of CCTVs, 37 traffic rule violators were booked through CCTV cameras. The MTPD has installed 460 CCTV cameras on major road sections to monitor and book people who violate traffic rules.
Those booked for MaPaSe have to pay Rs 1,000 and attend an hour-long class. “People have to register their name and stay in the class for an hour. This is a shameful ordeal for many and somehow it is our greatest asset to control the drink and drive,” said Sapkota.
Traffic police have been charging Rs 5,00 to Rs 1,500 for haphazard parking and lane rule violators.