Wed, Jan 17, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Public urged to join campaign against drinking and driving

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Given the limited effect that law enforcement has had on cutting down drunk driving incidents, public and private officials yesterday called on the public to exercise self-restraint and join a global campaign to promote the concept of "designated drivers."

Popularly known as "Bob," the campaign originated in Belgium in 1995 and has since expanded to cover 17 EU member countries by 2005.

Global campaign

Taiwan joined the worldwide effort last June, with the city government, the National Police Agency and Taiwan Beverage Alcohol Forum, a civic group, promoting the concept.

"The movement promotes the concept of designating a sober driver, and urges people to exercise self-restraint to avoid driving when intoxicated," Chang Chin-kai (張欽楷), director of the forum told a press conference yesterday.

Ho Kuo-jung (何國榮), director of the traffic division of the National Police Agency, said that a total of 90,000 people were arrested for drunk driving and 547 were killed in related accidents in 2005.

Drunk driving rising

The number of drunk driving incidetns increased by 10,000 last year, and more than 700 were killed in such accidents despite the passage of tougher rules against drunk driving, Ho said.

"Tougher rules are not enough. Traffic safety requires people to follow traffic rules willingly, and the campaign to promote designated drivers will help cultivate this habit," Ho said.

New Year crackdown

While vowing to promote the concept in the city, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said that the city police would boost its force to crack down on drunk driving as the Lunar New Year holidays approach.

Besides family members or friends acting as designated drivers, the public can also call 0800-055850 or dial 055850 on their cellphones for publicly appointed drivers.

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