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Free ride for drunk drivers? Maharashtra suspends alcohol test amid coronavirus

  • A senior Home Ministry official said the move to stop breath- analyser test is aimed at minimising the chances of coronavirus transmission.

Battling rising number of novel coronavirus cases, the Maharashtra government has suspended the use of breath-analyser for testing drunk driving cases for the time being.

A senior Home Ministry official said the move is aimed at minimising the chances of viral transmission by restricting person-to-person contacts.

"We have decided to suspend the use of breath-analyser apparatus for the time being," he said.

It is in fact a very useful equipment to maintain the neutrality and objectivity of police officials who use this apparatus during checking, the official added.

However, regular checking of vehicles by police personnel will continue.

A circular in this regard was issued by Vinay Kargaonkar, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Maharashtra Highway Police, on Monday.

"Outbreak of coronavirus has been reported in the state. To contain the spread of the virus, the police personnel need to take precautionary measures accordingly.

"Hence, Traffic Police personnel in all police units should not conduct breath-analyser tests for alcohol consumption by motorists," stated the circular.

The test would be resumed once the situation gets normal, he added.

Kargaonkar told PTI in Nagpur that the decision was taken to prevent further spread of coronavirus infection.

He said police personnel are vulnerable to the infection because they have to place the breath-analyser apparatus into the mouth of motorists to check whether they are driving drunk.

Meanwhile, the Home ministry official said that though the number of drunk driving cases declined from 18,000 in 2015 to 11,700 in 2018, the number is still high.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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