Messenger: A little caution please.

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09 Feb 2022 | 06:01 IST

A little caution please

Drunk driving appears to be a problem in the state with accidents being recorded every day. Are the revelers in the state now planning to hire a taxi or is one member of the group planning to stay sober so that after a fun time they can all get home safely. Several people have given their opinion

It is de rigueur to have a drink in Goa. In a way you sometimes don’t see when you’re back home. If one is a visitor from another state that is. The state’s party scene is probably one of the most varied and boisterous in the country. If you could describe it as such. Another disturbing aspect is the tendency of revelers to drink enthusiastically and then drive. This led to serious problems. Accidents resulting in serious injuries and fatalities on the roads of Goa occur regularly. Just look at the pages of the local newspaper to realize its regularity. So what are the authorities doing, and more importantly, what are people doing to make sure they’re partying safely.

In cities like Mumbai and now Pune, revelers are making arrangements for a safe night out. It’s not uncommon for friends to decide that one of them won’t drink to make sure they stay sober. Or they hire the services of a driver to transport them from the club to their residence. In Goa, revelers are planning a similar action. Do they envision similar behavior when they go partying up North or to some of the swankier places that have popped up all over the place?

Joanne Da Cunha, an actress, said: “Usually when I go out with a group of friends, one or more people in the group definitely cut down on their alcohol consumption to make sure we get home safely after the party. Alternatively, we would hire a taxi like the Goa Miles or anything practical, just in case things got out of hand, and to make sure nothing untoward happened in the evening.”

Shruti Chaturvedi, a marketer, said she usually had a driver. She said, “If not, then a person (usually me) who doesn’t drink takes responsibility for getting everyone home, because taxi services are unreliable.”

Marishia Rodrigues, when she’s not spending her time saving the environment, likes to relax with friends. She said: “When I go out with friends, one person is not drinking and they are usually the designated driver. We rotate between us every time we go out. For Goa-based film professional Aadore Mukherjee, partying is a way to network and unwind. She said: ‘I always make sure we have a driver, this too so I can leave when I want, it’s not safe to drink and drive or sit in someone’s car while drinking. It is better to have fun and return safe and sound”. For sure.

Communications consultant Anu Visvanathan said: “It is often difficult to go out in Goa, especially at night if you are not driving as there are no major taxi services like Uber or Ola. Tourists and residents alike end up having to pay exorbitant prices or a small fortune in season to travel even short distances. This does not help the problem of drunk driving, which quite often leads to accidents which could have been easily avoided if there was a good transport system in place or a taxi service. My friends and I often hire drivers for the evening or pay overtime to our regular day trips to accommodate our needs.”

Nupura Hautamaki, a digital marketer who likes to hang out with friends at various watering holes, said it all depends on the situation. She said: “You can either hire a driver or have a friend stay sober. Rarely taxi as they tend to really rip you off”.

You can always count on the famous musician Colin D Cruz to have a unique vision of the situation and a way to fix everything. He said, “In Goa, drinking is a way of life and feni is the nectar of life. The people of Goa rarely misbehave or get drunk on their senses. If alcohol has any effect on them, it would simply be to widen their smile. Alcohol in Goa is probably the cheapest in the world and it is a huge tourist attraction. Most visitors land in Goa and check into a bar before heading to their hotel room. If it’s a reckless drunk driver, you can bet it’s a foreigner binge drinking in Goa. Locals are expected to be given a green card to drive while a red card to drive is issued to every visitor to Goa. An intoxicated person holding a red card and driving should be immediately deported to Saudi Arabia.” Hmmm fine.

In all of this though, what are the police doing. Brendon Dsouza PI Traffic said they were following a multi-pronged approach to handle the issue. He said: “We are advising club owners to help intoxicated customers get to their homes by ensuring a driver is available. Everyone must take responsibility. We also want passengers using public transport to let us know if the driver is unfit to drive. They should provide us with the location and we will come. We also do random tests on the road. Additionally, we now file FIRs if someone is caught driving while intoxicated. This would mean that they will have to attend hearings and that is very serious. Give it time, people will understand the seriousness of the problem and slowly align.

One can only hope, common sense dictates the decision-making of all partygoers. It could save limbs and lives.

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