The Ministry of Justice is proposing stiffer punitive measures for drunk drivers involved in fatal accidents amid efforts to address a public outcry following a number of fatal accidents caused by driving under the influence.
Announcing the proposed changes yesterday, the ministry said that if the amendments were adopted, drunk drivers who hit and kill a person would face a prison term of between three and 10 years, with no possibility of commuting the sentence to probation or a fine.
The current law stipulates a prison term of between one and seven years for drivers involved in fatal accidents, the ministry said.
For drunk drivers not involved in a deadly accident, the new penalty for driving under the influence would be between two months and two years, and the sentences also could not be commuted.
The ministry said that drunk drivers who seriously injure someone would face one to seven years in jail, while currently they face sentences of six months to five years.
The ministry said it believes imposing stricter punishments on drunk drivers may deter people from driving while under the influence.
The proposed measure will be delivered to the Executive Yuan for approval before being sent to the legislature for adoption.
Police have announced that from now until the end of next month they will step up their clampdown on drunk driving, dedicating more time to policing the roads and random roadside sobriety tests.
Taoyuan police conducted roadside sobriety tests on Friday night, but in spite of their efforts, 19-years-old drunk driver Chang Ming-en (張銘恩) still managed to hit two cars and three scooters in an accident on Saturday morning in Taoyuan County. Nine people suffered light-to-serious injuries.
Among the severely injured was a 66-year-old man and Chang himself. Three of Chang’s friends riding in his car were also injured.
According to Chang’s friends, Chang was in a bad mood because he was scheduled to begin compulsory military service.
Chang’s friends told police that at about 4am, he decided to drive his friends home because they believed police had finished conducting roadside sobriety tests.
A victim said Chang was speeding and did not even try to hit the brakes before hitting other vehicles.
Police said Chang would be charged with drunk driving.