Police snare reckless drivers, souped-up cars

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sun, Jul 27, 2003 - Page 2

Under a direct order from Minister of the Interior Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲), the police yesterday began a three-day crackdown on reckless drivers at different designated locations.

The police yesterday arranged most of its officers on duty to stand by at the Northern Second Freeway's Shulin Toll Station and the Kuanhsi Rest Area.

"Our investigations showed that more and more reckless drivers like to take advantage of the Northern Second Freeway and do their illegal racing there. Their behavior is jeopardizing other motorists' safety and we need to crack down on them," said Lin Yi-chang (林奕昌), the chief of the Highway Police Bureau.

"We have to do whatever it takes to prevent illegal car racing on the highway, as well as prohibit illegal souped-up or remodeled vehicles on the roads," he said.

According to Lin, the owners of souped-up vehicles will be fined if inspectors and officers discover any parts which are not genuine factory items, such as engines, headlights, direction signals, mufflers, suspension parts and even brake calipers and pads.

With the help of inspectors of the Hsinchu County Department of Motor Vehicles, police officers sealed off the entire toll station and rest area and left only one lane open to be able to stop and inspect every vehicle. The owners of vehicles which were illegally souped-up or remodeled were fined.

The police action was not as effective as expected and officers only arrested 18 reckless drivers yesterday, because Yu's whereabouts were made public by the media on Friday night prior to the operation, which started around midnight.

According to National Police Administration (NPA) Director-General Chang Si-liang (張四良), Yu suggested to the 6,444 police officers who joined the three-day nationwide crack-down to list reckless drivers as national hooligans.

Yu, accompanied by Lin, Chang, Hsinchu County Commissioner Cheng Yung-chin (鄭永金), Criminal Investigation Bureau Commissioner Hou You-yi (侯友宜), Taoyuan County Police Department Commissioner Wang Lung (王隆) and Hsinchu County Department Commissioner Lin Teh-hua (林德華), arrived at the toll station around 11:30pm on Friday to encourage highway patrol officers on duty.

In addition to the police force on the ground, the NPA also asked the Airborne Police to assign two helicopters to the mission to help locate illegal racing vehicles whenever necessary.

As of press time yesterday, the NPA statistics showed that police officers issued tickets to 94 motorists who illegally refined their vehicles, to 545 drivers without licenses, to 1,392 speeding drivers and to 18 reckless drivers. Among the 545 drivers without licenses were 83 under the age of 18. Thirty-three of them are still at high school.

"In addition to issuing them tickets, as far as the 83 kids who drove without licenses are concerned, we are also considering making their parents' names public and forcing them and their parents to attend traffic rules classes," Chang said.