The Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD) of Nepal has found another very reliable way of capitalising on public safety… For months, (MTPD) has been inspecting Driving Under the Influence (DUI) cases, locally popularised as MA PA SE (Madak Padartha Sewan). Policemen and policewomen are stationed at different parts of Kathmandu to check if drivers/riders are driving after alcohol consumption. Drunk driving accidents have been occurring for years but all of a sudden, the police have started being concerned about our safety just now.. and that too, at absolutely no limit! Yes, the alcohol consumption limit while driving here is ZERO. Even if you have a sip and it shows on the breathaliser, you’re busted! And if you get caught, your license is seized, you have to pay a fine of Rs 2000 and take a safety class initiated by MTPD of two hours the next day.
When this inspection process started, the authorities didn’t have the device i.e. breathaliser or breath analyser. They used to make people breathe out right in front of traffic policemen’s face to smell the stench of alcohol. They now say since it wasn’t healthy, they got the device. So my question here is, if they knew the procedure was unhealthy already, how could they start it in the first place? How could they show concern of the public safety while putting their own personnel in duty at risk? Okay, to shed more light on, I’ll explain a scene of a general pre-breathaliser DUI inspection. You ride/drive up to a MA PA SE checking point, then a traffic policeman will ask you questions like “Kaha gayera aunu bhako?” and “K kaam garnu hunchha?”, you know queries that are not really of their concern and carrying out a conversation so that they can get a sniff of your alcohol-inflicted breath. I heard some even took the interrogation to a funnier extent asking “Bhaat khanu bhayo?” or something…LOL
Talking to reporters, MTPD says that once they’ve caught someone drunk driving, the driver is asked to call someone they know to fetch the vehicle and drive it to the respective destination. But that only happens when the driver’s alcohol consumption level is too high and is really not in a conditional to drive. However, in the case of lower levels, they just seize your legal documents and let you go. So if the person is able to drive home safely after drinking a little amount, why impose them of DUI and cause sheer inconvenience? It’s a torture as well when you go to collect your licence the next day. Imagine intolerably long queues for paying the fine as well as to collect your document.
In a country where consuming alcohol is not only about means of socialising but also a part of culture and tradition, although not in a greater amount, to impose a zero-limit is absolutely unjustifiable. Perhaps this zero tolerance can be explained. From the fine collected from every DUI case, personnel get a certain percentage of commission. Even if it’s just a small amount, just imagine how huge it will be after summing up the fines retrieved from all the drunk drivers. While the authorities are getting richer with their share of commissions, restaurants and pubs are facing a loss of millions of rupees because the people are too scared of the MA PA SE to drink. And although the number of road accidents has decreased a lot, it feels like the police are giving unnecessary hassle in the name of our safety.
Oh, BTW, I googled if there were other countries with zero tolerance DUI. Turned out there were but the only difference between those nations and Nepal was of “development”. Maybe MTPD should start catching up on that too?
Photos: stuffsforall, bikekinbech