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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: Even as a mere 3 per cent drivers put under breath analyser tested alcohol positive in Odisha post the clamp down order by Odisha DGP BK Sharma, the disconcerting fact is Odisha has the dubious distinction of bearing the burden of scoring the second highest deaths on roads due to drunken driving in the country.

According to data available with the State police, Odisha had recorded over 900 and 735 deaths due to drunk driving in the years 2018 and 2017, respectively. The deaths due to drunken driving accounts for nearly 17 per cent of total accident deaths in the State in 2018.

And Odisha is the only State after UP to record deaths of higher order due to drunken driving in the country.

Significantly, how the total prohibition policy in Bihar is proving a wonder could well be ascertained from the fact that the State has not recorded a single death due to drunken driving in 2018 vis-a-vis 890 deaths in 2014. Gujarat, another state that has a total prohibition policy, had recorded mere 18 deaths.

Among states having no total prohibition policy, J&K has recorded nil casualty on roads due to drunken driving.

An analysis reveals that big states having high motor density like Maharashtra and Karnataka have recorded fewer casualties owing to drunken driving. The drunken driving toll for the respective states are at 293 and 23.

The Statistics available with the State Transport department reveals that deaths due to drunk driving and jumping red light in Odisha have posted a linear growth over the years (means the deaths have posted a consistent rise over the years).

Even as deaths due to overspeeding accounts for the lion's share (54%) of deaths on roads, the growth had been quite seesawed (means the mortalities post ups and downs).

The startling comparative fact of drunken driving deaths growing three-fold in Odisha from 258 in 2014 to over 900 in 2018 against a growth of 1.6 times to around 2,800 deaths due to over speeding in 2018 from 1,622 in 2014 sums up the growing enormity of the issue.

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