Urbanisation and growing affluence has lead to more instances of drunk driving in India. Drunk driving or driving under the influence (DUI) is a criminal offence in India under the Motor Vehicle Act.
In India, the legal age for drinking varies from 18 years to 25 years from state to state, while some states have completely banned alcohol. For instance, state like Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and others have a legal drinking age of 18 years. States like Delhi, Haryana and others have a legal drinking age of 25 years, while most states have a legal drinking age of 21 years. Consumption of alcohol is completely banned in the states of Gujarat, Bihar, Manipur and Nagaland, as well as the union territory of Lakshadweep.
Any person who in his/her blood has alcohol exceeding 30 mg. per 100 ml. of blood, detected in a test by a breath analyser is said to be driving under the influence or drunk driving.
Currently, Section 185 in The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 makes driving under the influence a criminal offence in India. As per the Motor Vehicle Act, driving by a drunken person or by a person under the influence of drugs is punishable for the first offence with imprisonment for a term of upto six months and/or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees. Second or subsequent offence, if committed within three years of similar offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term of upto two years and/or with fine of three thousand rupees.
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 recently. The Amendment bill aims to improve road safety and provides for higher level of fines and penalty for drunk driving. The penalty for drunk driving under the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 has been increased from Rs.2000 to Rs.10,000