Drinking this festive season? Call a cab home
October 19, 2008 10:14 AM
New Delhi, Oct 9 (IANS) 'If you find this hard to read - book a
cab!' - Many restaurants and bars here will put up such signboards this
festive season, urging customers to take a cab instead of driving
their own vehicles after drinking.
"This is part of our 'you drink - I drive' campaign during this festive season," Gavin Dabreo, vice president marketing Meru Cabs, told IANS.
Meru Cabs has tied up with four TGIF (Thank God It's Friday) outlets and 160 fine dining restaurants and bars where it will place tent cards and coasters on the tables as well as display messages on LCD screens advising customers to take a cab rather than drive.
Interestingly, not only will slogans be displayed but color-coded coasters will also accompany drinks to "pinch customers about their drinking".
"The first drink you are served has a black coaster. The next is green, followed by an amber one and the fourth drink has a red coaster - signifying that it is time to call a cab," Dabreo added.
Regarding the trends in cab usage among Delhi-based clientele, he said: "People are prone to booking a cab between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. - cabs are booked for night outs or family dinners and even many one-way drops from the restobar to residences have been registered."
Among Indian cities, New Delhi has the highest number of car accidents caused by drinking and driving. About 105,000 people die in drunken driving accidents every year in the country, according to figures provided by social activist Prince Singhal.
Although there are laws in place against drunk driving, they are poorly enforced and every year the death and injury toll simply increases.
"Given the long distances in Delhi and the poor public transportation available, especially at night, commuters need to realize the need for alternatives," Singhal says.
"You can't expect that people won't be drinking in festive spirit - but if you get drunk, letting someone else drive you home or hailing a cab can ensure you aren't a risk to others," adds Singhal, who has been running a campaign 'Citizens Against Drunk Driving' for the past seven years.
Leading psychiatrist Sameer Parekh said: "It's a good initiative taken by the radio cab service providers and restaurants. Such steps create awareness in a responsible way.
"Restaurants may not stop you from drinking but by helping in getting a cab back home they are doing a commendable job. Such a practice should be exercised everywhere."
But he also stressed on enforcing the laws more stringently.
"When you are drunk - money is not an issue. If someone spends thousands on drinks - spending Rs.300 on a cab ride home is not an issue. The challenge is ensuring he is not behind the wheel," Parekh added.
Singhal said generally during the festival season revelers take to streets and drive carelessly.
"In the Dussehra-Diwali season, drinking peaks - so do accidents. Then there is the marriage season in November that gets carried on to January and the cold season when drinking-driving cases really surge," he pointed out.
Delhi Police too welcomed the initiative. "We always appeal to the people not to mix drinking and driving, and such a step will definitely help the people not to violate traffic rules," Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said.