No Liquor Shops On Highways From April 1: Supreme Court
Highlighting the importance of road safety and the problem of drink driving in the country, the Supreme Court today ordered the closure of all liquor shops along state and national highways by April 1, 2017.
The bench led by Chief Justice TS Thakur directed the central and state governments to not renew existing liquor licenses or issue new ones for vendors along highways.
According to ArriveSAFE, an NGO working for road safety and sustainable transportation, on an average, there are 3 liquor shops every 5 kilometers along India’s highways.
“This is a welcome move from the Supreme Court. This is something road safety activists have been advocating for and expecting for a long time. The thing is that these liquor shops are a distraction and a lot of accidents happen on the highways because drivers stop at these spots, drink and then drive,” says Tuhin A. Sinha, Consultant, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways of India.
The order stipulates that liquor shops should not be visible from highways and should be at least 500 meters away. Further, banners and other kinds of advertising for liquor will not be allowed.
In 2015, according to a report released by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Research Wing, 1,20,518 accidents took place on state highways while 1,42,268 took place on national highways. In these accidents, 51,204 people lost their lives on national highways and on state highways 40,863 people died.
A look at road accident figures from previous years reveals that these numbers have been on the rise.
While the data does not ascribe a cause for these accidents, a study conducted by the Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (AIDC), India estimates that around 40% of the road accidents in the country occur under the influence of alcohol. The Supreme Court order will be implemented by the Chief Secretary and police chiefs of states.