NPA cracks down on drunk-driving

SAFETY FIRST: Before the Lunar New Year holiday begins, many Taiwanese companies will host parties, and police are worried about people drinking and driving

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sun, Jan 23, 2005 - Page 2

The National Police Administration (NPA) announced yesterday that from yesterday until the Lunar New Year holiday -- a period in which many companies hold annual dinner parties -- the police will launch a crackdown nationwide on drunk drivers.

"The police will conduct serious checks for drunk drivers from [last night] to the Lunar New Year, nationwide," said Ho Kuo-jung (何國榮), director of the NPA's Traffic Division.

"Police will test drivers' alcohol levels in areas with lots of restaurants, pubs, and KTVs, as well as on and main roads in every cities," Ho said.

In addition, the police will focus on testing bus drivers, who often cause serious traffic accidents, he added.

Ho said that according to NPA statistics, 434 people died in traffic accidents caused by drunk driving last year, making drunk driving the number one cause of driving accidents.

Also, according to the the NPA's statistics, January was the worst month for traffic accidents caused by drunk driving from 2001 to last year.

"Analysis attributes the high rate of drunk driving in January to the companies' holding of annual dinner parties," he added.

Under the current regulations, the legal limit for a driver's blood-alcohol level is 25mg per liter.

If a driver's blood-alcohol level exceeds 25mg per liter, he or she faces a fine from NT$15,000 to NT$60,000 -- depending on the type of vehicle driven and the blood alcohol content.

In addition, the offender will have their driver's license for a year.

Also, if a driver's blood alcohol content exceeds 0.55mg per liter, he or she can be charged with endangering the public. If drivers refuse to take a blood-alcohol test, they will face the same punishment.

Ho called for the public "to not sit behind the wheel after you drink."

"Because if you do, you will be risking innocent people's lives, which is kind of selfish behavior," he added.