Mandatory rehabilitation urged for drunk drivers

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 - Page 4

Transportation officials yesterday said drunk-driving recidivists should be ordered to undergo rehabilitation the same way they are in other countries.

Hsieh Chao-i (謝潮儀), executive secretary of the Road Traffic Safety Committee, said three patterns had been observed among drunk drivers.

“One is that they do not have money and are afraid to be fined. Or they have money, but are afraid to be asked to take defensive driving courses or be locked up. Or third, they are not afraid to be penalized and they don’t fear being locked up. People in the third category are likely to be repeat drunk drivers,” Hsieh said.

The government should launch a cross-departmental effort and establishment a rehabilitation center specifically for drunk-driving recidivists, Hsieh said.

The number of people who have died in drunk-driving accidents at one point dropped 40 percent, but the percentage has risen again in the past two years, Hsieh said.

Aside from imposing heavier fines and punishments on drunk-driving violators, he said the public needs to be educated about the dangers of drunk driving.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the non-profit Taiwan Beverage Alcohol Forum launched a campaign asking sixth-graders to tell their parents and friends about the importance of not drinking and driving.

Taiwanese entertainer Fu Juan (傅娟) has been chosen as ambassador of the campaign. Forum president Tim Paech said he hoped the campaign could help parents become responsible drinkers, and understand the meaning and use of designated drivers through their children.

Paech said he hoped the campaign would help the next generation develop a correct and responsible attitude toward drinking, so that the government’s policy on minors’ consumption of alcohol and road safety could be fulfilled.

The Cabinet recently proposed revising the Criminal Code to impose heavier penalties for driving under the influence, setting a blood alcohol content limit for drivers of 0.11 percent, which is equal to a breath alcohol level of 0.55 grams of alcohol per liter. The proposal would also stiffen the penalties for driving drunk, including those for drivers who cause a death.