At least 92 school bus drivers were found drunk on duty after Kerala Police on Tuesday decided to conduct a surprise check on the bus drivers in multiple cities of the state. The police codenamed it ‘Operation Little Star’ and searched more than 6,000 vehicles during the operation that lasted 3 hours. It was later announced that licence of the drivers, who were caught drunk, will be cancelled and they will be further charged under Juvenile Act for neglecting regulations laid down under Motor Vehicles Act.

Inspector P Vijayan formed several teams and dispatched them to Ernakulam, Kottayam, Idukki and Alappuzha districts in the state of Kerala. All police units were advised to carry out the operation on a strict note which began at 6:30 AM and ended at 9:30 AM. The police units were given instructions of checking drunk drivers, overloading on vehicles, low fitness levels of vehicles and other violations of motor vehicle regulations.

The surprise, early morning check on the road led to the apprehension of 92 drivers for drunk driving while several others were pardoned on strict warning. It is alarming how school bus drivers, who are responsible for the safety of hundreds of school children, were found drunk on duty. Kerala police will also take stern action against the schools where these bus drivers were employed. Inspector P Vijayan said, “Since the drivers are employed by the school authorities, action will be taken against them for not keeping vigil, in order to prevent such incidents in the future.”

P Vijayan explained why police decided to conduct a surprise check saying, “We wanted to ensure the safety of children. Some cases of drunken driving among school drivers were registered in the past. We wanted to take action before it is too late. School authorities who employ these drivers are responsible for the safety of students. They should not be bothered only about PTA meetings and marks scored.”