The Metropolitan Traffic Police Division has recently added three dozen new breathalysers, finally giving some respite to the traffic police, who for more than seven months had to make do without proper machines to check drunk driving.
The Post had earlier reported that although the traffic police’s anti-drunk-driving campaign has been widely praised, 80 percent of the breathalysers currently in use weren’t working properly and officials were compelled to smell drivers’ mouths to check alcohol intake. After the story was published, the traffic police division allocated Rs 4.1 million to buy 36 breathalysers from China in the second week of January. It had announced that the machines would arrive by March, but the arrival date was delayed by another three months. The new machines reached the Traffic Police Office last week.
“There were some bureaucratic hurdles because of the lengthy tender process,” said Senior Superintendent of Police Basanta Pant, who heads the traffic division. “The anti-drunk-driving campaign will be more effective with the new batch of machines.”
Pant said that 10 new machines have already been sent to different units in Kirtipur, Bhaktapur and a few areas in Kathmandu, while the remaining 26 breathalysers will be used through the head office in Baggi Khana.
According to Pant, this is the first time the traffic police have invested such a significant chunk of its own money, without relying on donors, to purchase these equipment. Unlike the old breathalysers, the new ones can detect alcohol intake levels from a few inches of a driver’s mouth. The new machine also takes pictures and prints out the amount of alcohol intake after each test, and keeps a record of all violations, its locations as well as the details of the traffic police on duty.
The Traffic Police’s anti-drunk-driving campaign has been widely praised for helping reduce critical road injuries down to 60 percent and the number of fatalities by six percent. Since the campaign was launched in 2011, the traffic police has booked 308,633 drivers.(kathmandupost)