Bhubaneswar: Odisha has the dubious distinction of being the second deadliest state in India when it comes to deaths due to drunk driving despite the fact that only 3 per cent of drivers tested alcohol positive when put under breath analysers.
As per official data from State police, Odisha recorded 735 and 900 deaths in 2017 and 2018, respectively. The 2018 data is particularly disconcerting as it accounts for nearly 17 per cent of the total number of accident related deaths in the state in that year.
Only Uttar Pradesh ranks higher than Odisha in this infamous list.
There have been calls for total ban on alcohol in the state, justified by the fact that Bihar, a state with a total prohibition policy, recorded zero deaths due to drunk driving in the year 2018 compared to 890 in 2014. Similarly, Gujarat, another state where alcohol is prohibited, recorded merely 18 deaths.
Jammu and Kashmir, where no total prohibition policy exists, recorded zero casualties on roads due to drunk driving.
A recent analysis revealed that big states like Karnataka and Maharashtra despite having higher motor density have recorded fewer deaths with 23 and 293, respectively.
Data from the State Transport department reveals that the total number of deaths due to drunk-driving and jumping the red light on roads has risen exponentially over the years.
The severity of the issue is further highlighted by the fact that the 900 deaths in 2018 saw a growth of 1.6 times when compared to 258 in 2014. Deaths caused by over speeding have also seen a steep rise with 2,800 deaths in 2018 compared to 1,622 in 2014.