Ministry of Interior steps up its drunk driving clampdown

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Jun 10, 2012 - Page 3

As part of the Ministry of the Interior’s latest campaign against drunk driving, more than 3,000 police officers were deployed across the country at random roadside checkpoints to conduct sobriety tests on drivers late on Friday night and early yesterday morning. More than 300 motorists failed the tests.

Following a public outcry after a number of fatal accidents involving drunk driving, Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) pledged to take a more hardline stance against drunk driving and on Friday night marked the first night of an expanded program of random sobriety tests on motorists.

“From now until the end of next month, clamping down on drunk driving will be a priority, roadside sobriety tests will be more random and the hours dedicated to the effort will be increased,” Lee said. “We hope this will prevent more tragedies from happening.”

“Of course, the best solution to the problem is that everyone refrains from driving after drinking — take a taxi or ask a friend who didn’t drink to take you home, that is safer for society and for the individual,” he added.

Lee was in Greater Kaohsiung monitoring sobriety tests, while National Police Agency (NPA) Director-General Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) supervised checkpoints in Taipei with Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌).

“Other than Taipei and Kao-hsiung, last night’s action also focused on New Taipei City (新北市), Greater Taichung, Greater Tainan and Taoyuan County,” NPA spokesman Chen Kuo-en (陳國恩) said.

“In those six metropolitan areas, a total of 331 drunk drivers were stopped, which indicates that we still have a lot of work to do when it comes to clamping down on drunk driving,” he added.

Drunk driving is already the No. 1 cause of fatal car accidents nationwide, accounting for 439 out of 2,117 deaths last year, or 20.7 percent, Chen said, adding that from January to April, 148 out of 666, or 22.53 percent, of deaths in fatal car accidents were related to drunk driving.