Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and psychotropic substances is considered as a serious traffic violation. As part of the consultations on the RSTA Bill the traffic police want’s to not only enhance the fines but also include detention.
“During the stakeholders consultation meeting we decided that there is a need to propose for substantial increase in the penalty for DUI from existing Nu. 1750 to not less than Nu. 10,000 with imprisonment for a couple of days to minimize DUI offences,” said the Traffic Division’s Superintendent of Police.
“There is no question that alcohol is the major contributor to traffic safety in Thimphu. DUI has been topping the list of traffic offences in the country for more than a decade now. Alcohol related traffic fraternities are nearly twice as numerous on Friday and Saturday nights compared to other nights,” he added.
He said, “The law clearly states that people should not drive when drunk and RSTA rules and regulations provide for alcohol testing devices to establish the level of alcohol concentration in person’s blood. If the level of alcohol in blood exceeds 0.8 grams, a person is considered legally intoxicated”.
He also suggested that reckless drinking and driving should be imprisoned on the first offence to ensure safety of others. A mandatory jail sentence would cause people to seriously consider the bottom line of drinking and driving.
He said that if there is imprisonment on the first offense there would be no recurring offenders around to make the same mistake over and over again.
However a RSTA official said, “We need to increase the penalty for DUI but it is subjected to further discussion. Apart from imposing higher fines, there are other measures counseling and educating an offender.”