India

Indian Railways suffers from drunk drivers

04 Apr 2017 | By NewsBytes Desk
Drunk driving at the Indian railways

Data has revealed that on an average, 15% of the loco-pilots working with Indian railways, routinely fail alcohol tests.

Sources revealed that the numbers were much higher in 2015 and 2016, seeing a jump by nearly 50%. The trend is worrying as people's lives are being put at risk.

The violations were observed in both passenger trains as well as goods trains.

In context: Drunk driving at the Indian railways

June'14Railways introduces breathalysers for loco-pilots

In June 2014, the Indian Railways made it mandatory for all "running staff" to undergo breathalyser tests before and after each journey.

This was to check the growing trend of alcoholism among loco-pilots.

All senior supervisors in the Railways were supposed to maintain lists of loco-pilots who fail breathalyser tests.

Habitual offenders would also be sent for rehabilitation programs.

04 Apr 2017Indian Railways suffers from drunk drivers

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Railway board: Percentage of violations negligible

A senior Railways official said "Every day we run nearly 15,000 operations. In comparison, the rate of failure of breathalyser test is negligible...However, I agree that one train carries 1000 to 1200 people, so even one train accident can cause a disaster."
Why this trend?

Why?Why this trend?

Authorities said high stress levels were primarily to be blamed for the rise of drunk driving among Indian Railways' loco-pilots.

Former loco-pilots said that lack of ventilation and air-conditioning makes travelling in the drivers' cabin extremely uncomfortable. They said the alcohol helps them sleep.

In addition, drivers are dissatisfied with the pay scale.

There is also a crippling shortage of loco-drivers, leading to overwork.

Huge pressure on drivers

A driver of an interstate train, said "We don't get good sleep in railway retiring rooms as most of them are close to stations. Pay scale is highly unsatisfactory. In case of any incident, everyone finds faults with drivers. All these result in huge pressure."