Mon, Jan 02, 2012 - Page 2 News List

DGH considers changing drunk-driving penalties

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

Motorists repeatedly penalized for drunk driving could be required to take more defensive driving courses, the Directorate-General of Highways (DGH) said last week.

At present, first-time offenders are required to take four hours of defensive driving courses at a motor vehicle office.

However, the directorate said some motorists continued to drink and drive despite having been fined heavily.

In light of this, the directorate found that most violators considered it more inconvenient if they need to take a defensive driving course.

“Classes will always be held on weekdays,” said Hsieh Chieh-tien (謝界田), director of the DGH’s motor vehicle division. “The time for the next class will not be announced until after the lecture is over, so a lot of people will think it is troublesome [to take a defensive driving course].”

Hsieh said the directorate was considering increasing the number of hours of defensive driving courses violators are required to attend so they think twice about drinking and driving.

In particular, those who are caught drunk driving within a year after they were first fined will have to take eight hours of defensive driving courses. They will be required to attend 12 hours of courses if they get caught a third time.

The increase in drunk-driving accidents led to the legislature passing an amendment to the Criminal Code in November that could see violators face up to two years in jail or a fine of no more than NT$200,000.

Violators could also face up to seven years in prison if the accident leads to fatalities, or five years if severe injury is caused.

Statistics from the Ministry of Interior showed that a total of 1,847 traffic accidents were listed under the A1 category between January and November last year, up 3.47 percent compared with same period in 2010. Accidents classified as A1 were defined as those leading to death immediately or within 24 hours.

Accidents involving drunk drivers remained the No. 1 cause of A1-type accidents last year, accounting for nearly 21 percent.

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