Drink and Drive Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act: Numerous catastrophic outcomes have been caused by the careless and deadly behavior of drunk driving around the globe. Drivers represent a serious hazard to themselves and other road users due to alcohol's impairment of judgment, coordination, and response times. Fatal accidents, severe injuries, and psychological suffering for victims and their family ruin lives.
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The consequences of breaking the law sometimes include steep fines, license suspensions, and even incarceration, so they go beyond just the immediate losses. Governments and groups dedicated to promoting road safety repeatedly stress how serious this problem is and call for responsible behavior and increased awareness.
To promote a safer, more responsible driving culture, it is essential to comprehend the horrific consequences of drunk driving. Numerous laws are relevant to situations of driving while intoxicated in India as well.
Because of that, there is a possibility of serious traffic accidents. Consequently, it must be under control. In India, there are close to 5 lakh traffic accidents each year, and intoxicated drivers are frequently to blame. As a result, it is important to follow the law and drive safely. Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act in India enforces strict penalties for drunken driving.
The Legal Drinking Age and Driving Regulations (Drink and Drive)
The legal drinking age is the first consideration when thinking about drinking. The legal drinking age in India ranges from 18 to 25 years old. Various state laws affect this age differently. Additionally, certain states have outright alcohol bans, including Gujarat, Bihar, Nagaland, and Manipur.
The legal drinking age is 25 in certain states, including Goa and Haryana. At the same time, the legal drinking age is 21 in the majority of Indian states. The drinking and driving laws are the same across all of India’s states, despite the fact that the acceptable drinking levels vary from state to state.
The 2019 Motor Vehicles Act declares that driving while intoxicated is prohibited. In order to preserve one’s life when driving, one must make sure to drive while completely sober because insurance claims are not even acceptable for accidents caused by this offense.
Section 185 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (drunk driving fine)
A person is suspected of drinking and driving if they are caught operating a vehicle while having 30 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood in their system, are detected using a breathalyzer, or are under the influence of drugs and are unable to operate the vehicle safely. For the first offense, there is a possible punishment of a 2,000 rupee fine, up to six months in jail, or both.
The ensuing offenses are punishable by a punishment of Rs. 3,000, up to two years in jail, or both, if they are committed during the next three years. These guidelines are used in accordance with Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988. As a result, one must abide by the regulations and maintain accurate and complete records.
The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, 2016 increased the fine for driving under the influence from 2000 rupees to 10,000 rupees in order to raise safety standards and reduce the frequency of these common events in 2016.
One should avoid drinking and driving in order to avoid paying such hefty fines and damaging their reputation. It’s also important to educate friends and family members about driving regulations.
Permissibility of Alcohol Limit
Depending on the kind of vehicle and license category, different alcohol limits apply to drivers. The typical allowed alcohol limit for private automobiles is 30 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood (30 mg/100 ml) or 30 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of breath.
Influence of Drugs
When under the influence of drugs, a person must be so impaired that they are a danger to other road users and unable to manage themselves or the vehicle they are driving.
IFFCO TOKIO GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY LTD. v. Pearl Beverages, 2021.
In the instant case it was decided that the insurance company cannot avoid responsibility just by refusing a breath test. Circumstantial facts can be used to gather evidence in the absence of a breath test.
“Evidence of an erratic gait, the smell of alcohol, or congested eyes, in addition to, of course, actual alcohol consumption, either prior to the start of the driving or even while driving, as well as the way the accident occurred, may point to the driver being under the influence of alcohol. It would be a determination based on the weight of the evidence and the pleas.
The Need to Avoid Drunken Driving
Driving sober is essential to maintaining traffic safety and avoiding dire consequences. Alcohol dramatically increases the likelihood of accidents by impairing a driver’s judgment, coordination, and reaction times. Innocent lives are put at jeopardy, which can result in bodily harm, psychological harm, or even death. Offenders face harsh legal sanctions, such as fines and incarceration.
To keep oneself and other drivers on the road safe, one must make responsible decisions. Accepting ride-sharing, public transit, or designated drivers can help save lives and ease the strain on emergency services.
Individuals may support a safer and more responsible driving culture that promotes the safety of all road users by abstaining from drunk driving.
The Motor Vehicles Act’s Section 185, which addresses drunk driving infractions, emphasizes the seriousness of drunk driving and its potential repercussions.
By imposing severe penalties on people who choose to drive while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the provision aims to safeguard other road users.
The importance of making wise decisions when driving is highlighted by the law’s emphasis on responsible behavior. People may significantly contribute to the reduction of traffic accidents, the preservation of lives, and the creation of a safer driving environment for everyone by abiding by the provisions of Section 185 and refraining from intoxicated driving. All drivers must be aware of the seriousness of this infraction and prioritize road safety for a better, accident-free future.
- Section 185 in The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (indiankanoon.org)
- Drunken Driving Laws (Crime) and Punishment In India 2022 (vakilsearch.com)
- No blood or breath analyser test proving drunk driving? Insurer may still establish a case for exclusion from liability: Supreme Court | SCC Blog (scconline.com)