Fri, Feb 22, 2019 - Page 2 News List

KMT lawmakers demand action on DUI legislation

OUTRAGE:KMT legislators said they have proposed several amendments to stiffen penalties against drunk driving, but the Cabinet has yet to respond to them

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Johnny Chiang, fourth left, is accompanied by KMT caucus secretary-general John Wu, third left, and legislators Arthur Chen, second right, Lin Yi-hua, right, and Lu Yu-ling, second left, as he speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday urged the Executive Yuan to step up efforts to tighten rules against driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or narcotics.

In the wake of a recent spate of deaths resulting from drunk driving incidents, lawmakers across party lines have submitted more than 20 draft amendments in a bid to strengthen penalties for DUI.

However, aside from Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) expressing his “rage” on Facebook, the Cabinet has yet to propose any amendments, which raises the question of whether it is serious about tackling the problem, KMT caucus whip Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) told a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.

In 2013, lawmakers raised the maximum prison term for a DUI incident that resulted in a death to 10 years, which has helped reduce the number of drunk driving cases, he said.

However, from 2014 to last year the number of repeated offenses increased by one-third, he added.

The caucus has scheduled a public hearing on its proposed amendments for Tuesday next week, urging the Ministry of Justice to swiftly put forward its draft amendments, he said.

Statistics have shown that raising penalties can deter drunk driving, but the most recent amendments have had a limited effect, KMT caucus secretary-general John Wu (吳志揚) said.

The ministry has opposed proposals by lawmakers to stiffen penalties for drunk drivers, saying such efforts would be “disproportionate,” but over the years, society has arrived at a consensus of zero tolerance for fatalities caused by drunk driving, Wu said, urging the ministry to heed public opinion and not to obstruct the KMT’s proposals.

A draft amendment to the Criminal Code sponsored by Chiang and 19 others seeks to raise the penalty for DUI from a maximum jail term of two years and a maximum fine of NT$200,000, to seven years and a maximum fine of NT$500,000.

The proposed amendment would also stipulate the death penalty, life imprisonment or a maximum prison term of 12 years for fatal drunk driving offenses.

Meanwhile, a proposal by Wu and 16 others seeks to impose the death penalty or life imprisonment on repeat DUI offenders.

KMT legislators Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) and Shen Chih-huei (沈智慧) have also proposed amendments to the Criminal Code recommending the death penalty or life imprisonment for causing fatalities as a result of driving under influence of alcohol or drugs.

Another proposal by Wu to amend the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act (道路交通管理處罰條例) would impose a fine of between NT$90,000 and NT$180,000 on people driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics who refuse to comply with police request for an inspection and drive off.

A proposal by KMT Legislator William Tseng (曾銘宗) to amend the act recommends a fine of NT$150,000 for people who knowingly ride with a drunk driver.

Tseng’s proposal also seeks to have repeat offenders install alcohol sensors and automatic carburetor locks in their vehicles, and to allocate a proportion of fines collected to fund efforts to combat alcoholism.

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