President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday instructed the National Police Agency to strengthen its efforts to clamp down on drunk driving and reiterated the government’s determination to reduce the number of deaths caused by driving under the influence of alcohol.
“Any death from drunk driving is a crime that cannot be ignored. We must tighten road inspections and punish drunk drivers heavily,” he said while attending an award ceremony for police officers.
Drunk driving accidents are the No. 1 cause of deaths in the nation.
To reduce fatalities, the Ministry of the Interior has instructed local governments to set up targets to reduce drunk driving fatalities, Ma said.
The National Police Agency on Thursday strengthened efforts to reduce drunk driving after an amendment to Article 185 of the Criminal Code and an amendment to the Road Traffic Security Rules (道路交通安全規則) took effect.
The amendments mean that drivers found to have a blood alcohol level exceeding 0.15 milligrams per liter (mg/L) in a breathalyzer test could be penalized between NT$15,000 and NT$90,000 (US$500 and US$3,000) for driving while intoxicated.
Drivers with an alcohol level of 0.25mg/L or above could face criminal charges first and traffic penalties later.
The new standards mean that motorists cannot drive after consuming any alcohol.