Fewer people were booked for drink driving in the city on Holi-eve compared with last year. Sections in police are attributing the drop to the decision to stop using breathalysers to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Eight people were booked for drink driving on Holi-eve this year, compared with more than 30 last year.
Traffic cops said only those motorists who were visibly drunk were intercepted, taken to the respective police stations and then to the nearest government hospital for getting the test done.
The prosecution figures for drink driving on Tuesday were not available till late in the evening.
Officers said most of the cases were reported at night and their numbers would be made available on Wednesday.
“Usually, a person would be prosecuted for drink driving based on the breathalyser reading. But now, we are depending on our instincts and suspicions and waiting for reports of tests conducted at government hospitals to confirm our suspicions,” said an officer at a traffic guard in central Calcutta.
On Monday night, three cases of drink driving were reported from near the Karunamoyee bridge in Thakurpukur area, two each from the BK Pal Avenue-Rabindra Sarani crossing and Ekbalpore crossing and one from the crossing of Roy Bahadur Road and James Long Sarani.
Metro had on March 7 reported that the city police had paused the use of breathalysers fearing the spread of coronavirus since the same device is used by multiple people.
Traffic cops this newspaper spoke to on Tuesday said it was difficult to detect whether someone was drunk or not without using the breathalyser.
“People protest and start dropping names when we ask them to blow through the machine. Now, if we ask them to go to hospital for the test on the basis of suspicion, the situation may worsen. Hence, we are detaining those who are visibly drunk or driving recklessly and reeking of alcohol,” an officer said.