Ensuring road safety is a top priority in India, and following the country's stringent laws surrounding drunk driving is essential. They emphasize how important sober driving is to every driver's safety. Never drive after intoxication and always drive cautiously to ensure safety and adherence to the law.
In India, drinking and driving contribute to nearly 5 lakh traffic accidents every year. In 2022, as per national statistics, there were a total of 4,61,312 road accidents across various states and Union Territories. Unfortunately, these accidents led to 1,68,491 fatalities and caused injuries to 4,43,366 people. It highlights the serious impact of drinking and driving on road safety.
In this article, we will take a look at the important rules and steps India has taken to address the serious problem of drunk driving. We'll also look at the laws and punishments related to drunk driving in India.
Is Drunk Driving a Criminal Offense in India?
Yes, drunk driving is a criminal offense in India. The legal drinking age should be the main concern when it comes to drinking. In India, the legal drinking age varies between 18 and 25 years old. States have different rules for the age barrier.
The legal drinking age in some states, like Goa and Haryana is twenty-five years old. Furthermore, most Indian states have 21 as the legal drinking age. A few states like Gujarat, Bihar, Nagaland, and Manipur have prohibited alcohol consumption at any age.
The violators can face severe legal consequences. Therefore, to guarantee their safety as well as legal compliance, individuals must be aware of and follow regulations regarding the same.
Permissible Alcohol Limit while Driving in India
The Motor Vehicle Act specifies the permissible blood alcohol content for drivers in India. Drivers must understand that it is very important for them to be aware of legal limits on drinking while driving. All states use the breath analyzer to check alcohol in a person’s blood. Above 30 milligrams of alcohol in 100 ml blood flag a person as driving under the influence or DUI.
Also, drug-intoxicated drivers are subject to the same rules. They undergo legal consequences as they are not able to drive safely. To ensure both their safety and the protection of other road users, all drivers must be aware of this allowable alcohol level and abide by it.
Laws Governing Drunk and Drive?
The Motor Vehicles Act of 1988
According to Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988, driving a motor vehicle or attempting to drive it while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs is prohibited. It involves the following circumstances:
After the reading of a breath analyzer, if it determines that a person's blood alcohol level is more than thirty milligrams per 100 milliliters, he or she undergoes punishment for the first time. It will be imprisonment for not more than six months and/or a maximum fine equaling Rs 2000.
Drug-impacted drivers escalate the accident likelihood. On repeating similar offenses within three years, they may receive a sentence up to two years, be fined up to three thousand rupees or bear both penalties.
Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill, 2016
Due to the fast increase in urbanization and increased incomes, more registered motor vehicles exist. The concerning issues of rising pollution and traffic accidents are also present here. We need to prioritize road safety more under the present Motor Vehicle Act.
The bill aims to amend the Motor Vehicle Act of 1988 to forbid the registration of many automobiles belonging to the same class at the same residential or commercial location.
In 2016, the Motor Vehicle Bill was modified by the Union Cabinet, directed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This law increases the fines and punishments for driving while intoxicated from Rs. 2000 to Rs. 10,000 and enhances restrictions for road safety.
The Bill also addressed several concerns, including vehicle recalls, third-party insurance, taxi aggregator regulation, road safety, and victim compensation. The Motor Vehicle Act has had substantial modifications as a result of this Amendment, including:
- Until the age of fifty, or for 20 years after that, a person is permitted to drive.
- Licenses will be valid for an extra five years after the age of fifty. Individuals of all ages may apply for a license, which has the following validity periods:
- If under thirty: Until the age of forty.
- Between 30 and 50: 10 Years.
- Based on the age of 50 to 55: Until they become 60.
- Over 55: a further five years
- If a flaw causes injury to the driver, the environment, or the road, the manufacturer is liable for fixing the car or covering any damages.
- There won't be any legal or criminal repercussions for someone who is helping a traffic accident victim who passes away while receiving medical attention in good faith.
- Vehicle registration, license issuance, payment of fines, and address changes were all subject to electronic monitoring.
- The manufacturer of motor vehicles faces fines of up to Rs. 100 crore, penalties, or both if he violates manufacturing requirements.
In India, driving while intoxicated is illegal according to the Motor Vehicles Act. If found driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol, the criminal may suffer severe penalties. Penalties usually consist of fines and/or jail time.
If this is his first crime, he might be sentenced to six months in prison and fined ₹10,000. Before 2019, the first infraction carried a ₹2,000 fine. If this is his second crime, he faces a two-year prison sentence and a fine of ₹15,000, which is an increase from ₹3,000.
Repeat offenders may also be subject to license-related fines. These are the guidelines implemented under the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988, Section 185, Drunk and Drive. Therefore, one needs to abide by the guidelines and maintain records.