The Executive Yuan yesterday approved a draft amendment that would regard driving a vehicle under the influence of narcotics as an “offense against public safety” with a maximum three-year sentence and NT$30,000 fine.
Tests for drivers suspected of being under the influence of narcotics would be based on urinalysis, regardless of whether a driver was operating a vehicle dangerously or was involved in an accident.
The Executive Yuan said its approval of the proposed amendment showed the government’s “zero tolerance policy toward narcotics, deterring drug users from operating motor vehicles in a way that causes danger to other people.”
Photo courtesy of the Changhua County Police Department
The draft amendment aims to address concerns that the code’s threshold for determining drug use in drivers is too limiting to be effective, officials said.
However, they assured that police officers would not conduct random drug testing on drivers, but would base decisions on individual cases or conditions, such as discovering narcotics or paraphernalia in vehicles.
Article 185-3 of the Criminal Code says: “A person who uses drugs, narcotics or similar substances that prevent a person from driving safely” could be charged with an “offense against public safety” and face a three-year sentence, with a possible NT$30,000 fine.
The amendment was drafted after public safety advocacy groups said that driving under the influence of drugs is as serious as drunk driving and should have its legal threshold lowered, officials said.
The draft amendment is to be forwarded to the Legislative Yuan for approval.
Additional reporting by Jason Pan
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