Delhi: Cases of drunk driving, minors steering vehicles see an uptick this year

- July 8, 2024
| By : Kushan Niyogi |

There has been a 21.5% increase in drunk driving incidents during the January-June 15 period compared to last year; instances of minors driving increased by 42.4%

Delhi has accounted for an abject rise in the number of drunk driving incidents during the first six months of the year.

According to data accessed by Patriot, there has been a 21.5% increase in the number of drunk driving incidents in the national capital since last year.


The number of instances from January to June 15 this year has been lodged at 11,672. During the same time-frame in 2023, it was 9,154.

As drunk driving incidents have increased, so have instances of minors caught for driving.

The Delhi Traffic Police disclosed that 231 instances of underage driving were noted from January to June 15 this year. In 2023, a significantly lesser number, 133 was recorded during the same time-frame. It means that the instances have increased by 42.4%.

A senior police official highlighted that instances of both drunk driving and minors caught for driving had increased after the Pune hit-and-run case in May.

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“There was a clear pattern. After the [Pune] incident, the numbers increased for both violations much to our surprise,” said the senior official.

Although the number of fatal accidents had shown signs of decrease till May, the increase in violations point towards a different fact.

According to Delhi Traffic Police data, about four people lost lives every day in fatal accidents from January to May 15 this year. It was noted that 518 people have died in 511 fatal crashes, compared to 552 fatalities in 544 crashes during the same period in 2023.

According to news reports, the said fatal accidents were mostly recorded on National Highway (NH) 24, NH 8, Ring Road, Rohtak Road, GTK Road, and Mathura Road.

Reasons, ranging from carelessness to wearing their heart on their sleeves, are sprinkled across the table.

Child psychologist Aruna Agarwal highlighted that the main cause for such carelessness among minors comes down to proving themselves to their peers, where they are not regarded in a positive light.

“Children have a strong urge to showcase their abilities to the world, especially their peers. If they are in an environment that is not very conducive to understanding the harmful effects of such actions, it can lead them to taking such actions (driving under the influence and underage),” she said.

She further added that they also harbour a strong sense of rebellion owing to external factors.

“As a teenager, decision-making is often very spontaneous and more influenced by external forces — it can be media, role models, peers among others. Hence, parents’ protest cannot be taken easily if the relationship between the minor and parents is one where the latter plays the role of a disciplinarian and that is why in most cases, they fail to make the child understand the consequences.”

She highlighted that the instances of driving under influence, which lead to fatal accidents, can have a negative effect on the minor, with regret or guilt causing low self-esteem and low self-confidence.

She added that schools can explain to the students the “whys and why nots” of driving underage and under the influence, and motivate them to do better.


“Parents and teachers, well-being department of the school can have few lessons which explain through models, and setting up clear boundaries. Making them understand the rules of driving at an early age where the school can explain through stories and gamified projects. As a parent of a teenager, it’s important to develop bond of friendship, love and security, and be able to guide them,” she said.

In the changing social climate where minors are wanting to be in the driver’s seat more actively, parents have become a bit more proactive in wanting to understand what makes them violate such traffic laws.

Priyanka Sharma, 45, a mother of two, highlighted that she does not have any problem as such with her son or daughter driving car before the legal age.

“Technically it is a violation, but in my opinion if my child is 16 or 17 and drives the car only to learn the ropes then there is no reason for me to stop them. Moreover, it will also be beneficial to have someone ready at all times to drive across the city if there’s an urgent need for it. However, like any other normal person, I am strictly against drunk driving. There is no situation in which that can be justified,” she said.

On the other hand, Pooja Agarwal, 42, said that a minor does not have any reason to be behind the steering wheel unless necessary.

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“To be honest, I am against any child driving a car before they reach the legal driving age of 18. Of course, they can learn how to drive before turning 18 under watchful supervision but that is the extent of it, beyond which they should not drive. Drive however much you want after 18, and driving under the influence should strictly be shunned. There is no excuse,” she said.

An officer shared that if an underage driver is found driving, then the charges levied on the car owner are much harsher than the minors themselves.

“However, most people do not care much about these rules,” he said.

Presently, the fine for underage driving can range anywhere between Rs 500 to Rs 5000 under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Considering the extent of the violation, charges based on reckless driving, and causing hurt may also be lodged, with the car owner also facing similar charges.

On the other hand, according to the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, drunk driving can lead to a penalty of Rs 10,000, or the court may send the offender to jail for six months, or both, for a first-time offender. If it happens for a second time, then the offender can be charged a penalty of Rs 15,000, or be sent to jail for two years, or both.