Traffic police have been equipped with sophisticated breathalysers that can print the alcohol level in a driver, ending the hassle of having to go to hospital for alcohol testing.
The new equipment, with a printing machine attached, will produce the amount of alcohol consumed along with the driver’s licence number and name instantly. Data can also be saved in the device.
The Metropolitan Traffic Police Range has acquired 18 such machines to be used by all the 12 traffic units in the Valley. Additional teams deployed by the MTPR will also use the machine at various check points.
“Many people who drive under influence start altercations with police once they are caught,” said Deputy Inspector General of Police Keshab Adhikari. “In such cases, the drivers are taken to hospital to confirm their alcohol intake. This affects our whole checking.”
One such breathalyser cost Rs 135,459; the total investment was Rs 2.4 million. Traffic police have also been provided with four new radar-guns that will detect the speed of vehicles from a distance.
The anti- drink driving campaign, popularly known as MaPaSe, has been a successful mission since its launch in December 2011.
Traffic police said the new breathalyser is easy to use as it can read alcohol level without having the person blow hard into its tip.
One lot of detectors bought in 2012 fell into disuse within months. Ten of the old equipment are functional.
DIG Adhikari said this is a step towards making the MaPaSe campaign more scientific. The Vehicles and Transport Management Act (1991) considers all degrees of alcohol consumption by drivers punishable.
The machines will come to use next week after training officials on their handling. Police confiscate drivers’ licences and make their owners attend early morning classes when caught driving under influence. They perforate the permits for each offence.
A total of 52,280 drivers were booked for driving under influence last fiscal year. More than 137,000 people have been charged with drink driving in Kathmandu Valley so far, resulting in a collection of Rs 140 million in fines.