Sat, Jan 26, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Alcohol testing to expand after spate of accidents

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Roadside alcohol testing is to be expanded after collisions yesterday in New Taipei City and Miaoli County saw one person killed and five injured, the latest in a spate of serious accidents this week, police said.

A two-vehicle collision occurred in the early morning at the 50.5km mark on the southbound lane of the Formosa Freeway (National Freeway No. 3), near the exit for New Taipei City’s Yingge (鶯歌) and Sansia (三峽) districts, police said.

A car driven by a woman surnamed Lo (羅), 46, allegedly rammed into the back of a minivan driven by a man surnamed Chen (陳), 55, which was carrying four passengers: his elderly parents and other family members.

The minivan rolled over, injuring the occupants, who were rushed to a local hospital by city and National Highway Police Bureau ambulances.

Paramedics were able to resuscitate Chen’s father, who had exhibited no vital signs after the accident.

Highway police found that neither driver had been drinking alcohol. The two sustained minor injuries.

Lo was likely dozing off, as video footage showed that her car was weaving just before the collision, police said.

Meanwhile in Miaoli County, a 20-year-old university student was killed at about noon, when his motorcycle struck a parked semitrailer on the West Coast Expressway (Highway No. 61).

Police at the scene said that the truck driver surnamed Pan (潘), 44, was at fault, as he parked on the outer lane reserved for motorcycles.

Testing showed that Pan had not been drinking.

Police quoted Pan as saying that he had stopped on the roadside to eat lunch.

The driver was fined NT$1,200 for parking illegally, police said, adding that they plan to press charges on negligence causing death.

In the aftermath of a major accident in Taichung’s Dali District (大里) late on Wednesday, many people are demanding more severe punishments for drunk driving.

A video shows a van running a red light through an intersection, smashing into a taxi, which flipped over.

The accident killed three people, including the taxi driver surnamed Liu (劉), 65, and two passengers, surnamed Lee (李) and Chen (陳), aged 53 and 54 respectively.

Police testing showed that the van driver named Lai Chien-chih (賴建智), 41, had a blood-alcohol level of 1.39 milligrams per liter (mg/L). The legal limit is 0.15mg/L.

Taiwan Against Drunk Driving secretary-general Lin Mei-na (林美娜) said that the law is too lenient, as the most severe sentence for drunk driving resulting in death is 10 years in prison.

“In the past five years, no drunk driver has received the maximum sentence. The judges always believe the drivers did not deliberately cause death and should be given another chance, but who can give the victims a second chance at life?” she said.

At least half a bottle of liquor must be drunk to reach a blood-alcohol level of 1mg/L, so Lai must have drunk nearly one full bottle, police said.

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