The Mumbai traffic police has decided to depute women constables to check the incidence of drunk driving among women. This step is being taken because while hundreds of men are caught for driving after consuming alcohol, women largely get away unchecked as police men are reluctant to check them.
Henceforward, at every point where the traffic police conducts such checks, a woman constable will also be deputed to check women drivers too.
In 2013, 15,897 motorists were booked for drunk driving, but only six of them were women.
Police men are happy about the latest move to have women constables check women as they are hesitant to check women drivers, although there is no law that prevents them from doing so.
They explain that many drivers resist undergoing the breathalyser test, so the cop asks the driver for his name and pulls up close to his mouth to try and get a whiff of his breath. But they cannot do this with the women and usually let them go without a check.
Some police men explain the low number of women caught, saying far fewer women than men drive late at night. They also say women who have consumed alcohol generally choose not to drive and will engage transport to return home.
Asked whether deputing women constables would see an increase in the detection of drunk driving among women, Pratap Dighavkar, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), said that in the period between 11pm and 2am when the checks are carried out only six percent of the drivers are women.
“Women, when drunk, prefer having a driver or they will hire a cab to return home. But one thing is sure now and that is no woman will be allowed to leave without being checked by a woman constable. Whether the number increases or falls we will be able to tell only as time goes by,” Dighavkar said.
The top traffic cop said a woman driver would have to undergo the breathalyser test and if it indicated alcohol content beyond the limit the driver will be taken to a hospital for a proper blood test. He also explained that since disposable tubes are being used for the breath tests now, there was no reason for anybody to refuse taking the test.