Wed, Aug 07, 2013 - Page 4 News List

New laws result in fewer drunk driving fatalities

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Stricter punishment for drunk drivers appears to have reduced casualties as the latest statistics from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) showed that deaths from driving-while-intoxicated (DWI) accidents had decreased by 66 from January to June, compared with the same period last year. Both the number of DWI accidents and the number of people killed in DWI accidents were the lowest in six years.

Ministry statistics showed that 131 DWI accidents occurred during the period, killing 137 people. The ministry attributed the decreases to the amendment to Article 185 of the Criminal Code, which stipulates that individuals can face criminal charges if they are found to have a blood alcohol content exceeding 0.25mg/L in a breathalyzer test. Police have also devoted more personnel to cracking down on drunk drivers, the ministry said, saying both factors have effectively reduced DWI-related accidents.

Meanwhile, the total number of traffic accidents falling under the “A1” category, in which people were killed on the spot or died within 24 hours, decreased by 5.2 percent to 919. A total of 947 people were killed by accidents in the “A1” category, a drop of 5.1 percent.

Among people who died in traffic accident, 57.4 percent were motorcyclists. They were followed by pedestrians, accounting for 12.5 percent.

Prior to the amendment of Article 185, the MOTC and the Ministry of the Interior worked on amending the Road Traffic Security Rules (道路交通安全規則). In the amended rules, the maximum legal limit for alcohol in the breathalyzer test was lowered from 0.25mg/L to 0.15mg/L.

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