Sat, Mar 23, 2019 - Page 3 News List

DUI changes lead agenda

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan announces the result of negotiations at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Gorge Tsorng, Taipei Times

Proposed amendments to the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act (道路交通管理處罰條例) calling for stricter penalties for people driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or narcotics are to be passed on Tuesday.

The Legislative Yuan yesterday held the first round of cross-caucus negotiations over the proposals after four negotiations at the Transportation Committee on the issue over two years.

Prior to the cross-caucus talks, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) voted during a plenary session to list the amendments as the first item of yesterday’s agenda.

So far, lawmakers have agreed on draft amendments to eight articles, but have sparred over 10 others, DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said at the beginning of the meeting.

There are also more than 30 draft amendments to the Criminal Code that also seek to stiffen penalties for DUI offenses, he said.

Ker said that all of the proposed changes should be reviewed at once, but KMT Legislator John Wu (吳志揚) opposed the motion.

As the Executive Yuan is expected to approve the Criminal Code proposals on Thursday next week, reviewing them all at once would further delay legislative efforts to deter DUI, Wu said.

DPP Legislator Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) said two draft amendments suggesting collective liability were controversial, because such legislation would be unprecedented in Taiwan.

One says that people in a vehicle driven by a person driving under the influence are to be fined, Cheng said.

The other would allow confiscation of a vehicle used in a DUI offense or revoke its license plate, even if it does not belong to the offender, he said.

Another contentious proposal, tendered by KMT Legislator Chiang Nai-hsin (蔣乃辛), says that people who give alcoholic drinks to a person who goes on to commit a DUI offense should also be fined, Cheng said.

KMT Legislator Lin Te-fu (林德福) had proposed publishing the names of DUI offenders, which is also debatable, Ker said.

As opinions are divided, Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) asked the four caucuses whether they would agree to a final committee meeting on Monday and a second round of cross-caucus talks on Tuesday.

Proposals on which lawmakers fail to agree could be put to a vote during the plenary session on Tuesday, Su said.

The KMT and the People First Party caucuses did not object.

New Power Party Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) also agreed, but said that he was frustrated with Deputy Legislative Speaker Tsai Chi-chang’s (蔡其昌) adjournment of a plenary session on Tuesday without the proposals being reviewed.

They would have been passed, if they had been put to a vote, Huang said.

Huang asked Su to have the conclusions reached during previous committee negotiations printed by Monday, to which Su agreed.

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