It will be a double whammy for drunken Delhiites taking to the wheel this New Years’ eve. Apart from stringent fines including imprisonment, one may contract diseases courtesy infected alcometers.
According to doctors and health experts, the disposable straw on top of the devices could carry millions of germs and bacteria if re-used and when a suspected drunk driver blows into it, he may get infected.
“If a person has cracked ulcers in his mouth and blows into an already used infected straw of an alcometer, he will definitely get infected,” Medical Superintendent of Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, T.S. Siddhu said.
Medical Superintendent of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) D.K. Sharma agrees: “People suffering from respiratory tract infection might face health hazards if they blow into the straw.”
Lok Nayak Jai Prakash hospital’s Medical Superintendent Richa Diwan, however, said that if used properly, the breath analysers were absolutely safe.
“If it is used in a safe manner, no one should be worried about their health because we also use the same thermometer on several patients,” Diwan said.
Meanwhile, the Delhi traffic police have said that all the officers on duty have already been ordered to change the straw after every check.
“All traffic cops have been directed and specially trained to use new straws each time they check a person,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Satyendra Garg said.
“Breath analysers are used in a very safe way and it is wrong to say that we use the same straw to check everyone,” added Garg.
The police would be prosecuting drunk drivers between 7 p.m. and 3 a.m. on the night of December 31 and on January 1. The legal permissible limit of driving under the influence of alcohol is 40 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.