Wed, Dec 24, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Scooter smokers face range of fines

TRAFFIC LAW CHANGES:New rules target tire tread depths, double-parking and cigarettes in an effort said to be aimed at increasing safety on the nation’s roads

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

A scooter rider holds a lit cigarette while waiting on a busy street in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chu Pei-Hsiung, Taipei Times

Scooter drivers who smoke and are involved in incidents that harm other people face new fines, the legislature decided yesterday.

The Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act (道路交通管理處罰條例) was amended to make smoking while driving or riding a motorcycle that affects other people’s safety punishable by a fine of NT$600. The penalty for double-parking has also been raised to between NT$600 to NT$2,400.

Insufficient tire tread depths — previously unregulated — will now draw fines from NT$3,000 to NT$6,000.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiang Hui-chen (江惠貞) said the proposal was to reinforce traffic safety on freeways.

KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中), who proposed punishing those smoking while driving or riding, said scooter riders who smoke while riding or stopped at traffic lights not only generate air pollution, but also disturb people around them and damage the environment — if the cigarette butt is disposed of improperly.

“A butt takes 15 years to decompose,” he said. “Their accumulation in the sewage system could affect drainage and pollute the ocean if they get flushed into the sea.”

Ting supported the proposal and the passage by a poll commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency, which found that 84 percent of the public are against smoking by drivers and motorcycle riders on the move.

The legislature also passed an amendment to the Political Donations Act (政治獻金法) that is expected to allow small parties to secure more donations.

The current rule stipulates that donations to parties may be listed as income tax deductions, but restricts the benefit to political parties with 2 percent of the vote in the prior election.

The change lowers the vote threshold to 1 percent and would help develop political plurality if smaller parties could secure more political contributions, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智) said when making the proposal.

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