Wed, Sep 05, 2007 - Page 2 News List

MOTC turns to the law to address drunk driving

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications will hold a public hearing toward the end of this month to discuss the possibility of amending driving regulations to curb the number of drink-related accidents.

Ying Chen-pong (尹承蓬), director general of the ministry's Department of Highways and Railways, said the talks would focus on several issues, including the feasibility of lowering the maximum blood alcohol level from 0.25mg to 0.15mg and stricter punishment for minor-aged drunk drivers.

Ying said they would also consider the possibility of amending the Criminal Law. While some articles could be used to arbitrate cases involving drunk driving, he said, the penalties could be lighter than those stated in the Act Governing the Punishment of Violation of Road Traffic Regulations (道路交通管理處罰條例).

As the Constitution states that Criminal Law supersedes administrative laws, drunk drivers may not be punished as harshly as they should, he said.

Ying noted that participants would also discuss the potential application of a zero-tolerance policy on drunk driving, which some countries have already adopted.

He said the conclusions reached during the hearing could be turned into a proposal within three months.

In related news, the ministry said yesterday it had proposed allowing large-size motorcycles with a cylinder capacity exceeding 550cc to operate on 16 expressways nationwide starting on Nov. 1, unless local governments state otherwise.

The proposal still needs the approval of the Executive Yuan.

Meanwhile, the ministry said laws regulating sedans would be applied to regulate large-size motorcycles.

Starting in November, owners of large motorcycles will be allowed to park in spaces reserved for sedans. They will be charged the same rate.

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