Lawmakers at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday urged the government to quickly draw up regulations for designated driver services, which people can use after drinking alcohol.
The committee was scheduled to discuss several proposed amendments to the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act (道路交通管理處罰條例), including a proposal to raise the punishment for drunk driving.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) and independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) said it was necessary to introduce designated driver services for people who are not allowed to drive.
Because there are no rules regulating prices of designated driver services, people might be charged anything between NT$300 and NT$2,000 for the same trip, depending on the company, Chao said.
In addition to prices, such issues as liability insurance and driver management should also be regulated, Lee said.
Japan has had laws governing designated drivers since 2001 and they have proven effective in reducing the number of accidents caused by drunk drivers, he said, adding that South Korea has 7,000 companies offering such services, which employ 100,000 drivers and serve 700,000 customers each day.
Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Frank Fan (范植谷) said that the ministry’s think tank, the Institute of Transportation, was scheduled to present draft regulations by the end of the month.
Meanwhile, some lawmakers proposed tougher penalties for repeat drunk-driving offenders.
Many people continue to drink and drive, even after their licenses have been suspended or revoked, People First Party Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said, proposing that the additional fine on top of the one for drunk driving be raised from between NT$6,000 and NT$12,000 to between NT$9,000 and NT$18,000.
Other proposals included raising fines for refusal to take Breathalyzer tests from NT$90,000 to NT$180,000.
People who are caught driving while under the influence during roadside inspections or those who refuse to take Breathalyzer tests should be required to use special license plates, such as florescent plates, if they commit any of these acts three times within five years, the proposal said.
Passengers accompanying drunk drivers should also be fined between NT$6,000 and NT$12,000, the proposal said.
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