This popular app, where drivers alert each other about various ‘checkpoints’ and police personnel across the city.
They’ve chosen to flout rules, and now they’ve found a way not to get caught. This is one story of Hyderabad’s drunk drivers.
With the number of checkpoints across the city, driving people under the influence of alcohol, it has become increasingly difficult for many to escape the after-party. But WhatsApp appears to have come to their performance.
There are several groups on this popular messenger app that alert each other to various ‘checkpoints’ across the city so that others can skip them and take an alternate route.
For instance, a person driving a certain distance will be alerted to other members of the group along with other checkpoints. This would help others; They are usually under the influence of alcohol and want to escape the police, pick an alternate route.
There are areas like Banjara Hills, Jubilee Hills, Gachibowli, Madhapur and Begumpet that have dotted the area.
Users in such groups also ask about the appearance of police personnel along the roads and whether or not they are being held at a particular locating station. If any of the objects in the group are for that specific area, they pass in the necessary order.
In a few examples, members of the group check to Google Maps to see if there is a traffic stop, a colour red, and areas where checking is usually expected. They then send a message alerting other members of the group about the possible presence of the police in that location.
“It helps to avoid those places where police are present, especially on Saturday nights. If I have to go to Begumpet from Jubilee Hills, I ask if anyone in the group is aware of the checkpoints,” said a group member on condition of anonymity.
The demand to be a part of such groups is on the rise, which is their number is also increasing.
“I have at least four such groups. That means I am connected to about 1,000 other people and can get information about drunk and drive checking spots,” said another member.
The groups comprise people of all ages and backgrounds – from young to partying individuals, to middle-aged people, socialites and small-time actors.
“We are aware of such groups, and it is not practically possible to control them. But we are making sure there is no easy escape. Therefore, instead of one or two checkpoints in a single area, there are multiple.” The person can escape one point but get caught in the next one, “he said.” We are planning to become stringent over time, “Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Anil Kumar told News18.
There are also cases where drivers are available on rent to help a drunk person cross a particular checkpoint, beyond which the vehicle will be handed over to the owner.
There has remained an accelerated rise in the number of drunk driving cases. A total of 15,133 members were arrested by drunk drivers till June this year. Kumar said the name has been high in the second quarter. In April, traffic police personnel found 2,215 drunk drivers and the number shot to 2,770 in June.
According to the Vehicle Act 1988, a person can be fined if over 30mg of drink per 100ml of blood is found in the Breath Alcohol Content Test. But in Hyderabad, it has been raised to 35 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood with minor errors.