A group against drunk driving on Thursday slammed Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) for a rise in drunk-driving-related deaths in the municipality.
According to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Taichung reported a 54.9 percent increase in deaths caused by driving under the influence (DUI), which is 11 times more than the national average of 4.9 percent increase, Taiwan Against Drunk Driving (TADD) said in a news release.
The spike in fatalities in Taichung represented the highest number of DUI deaths and the largest percentage increase among Taiwan’s special municipalities and counties, it said, adding that 612 people were killed in drunk driving incidents in the municipality.
Taichung has been one of the the top three regions on the list of DUI fatalities almost every year except for the 2019 to 2021 period during which it ranked fourth, TADD secretary-general Kao Shu-chen (高淑真) said.
The rising DUI death toll in Taichung, which increased for five consecutive months this year, suggests a significant failure of the local government in enforcing anti-DUI measures, Kao said, adding that the city had “stopped caring about stopping drunk drivers altogether.”
The overall increase of drunk driving fatalities in Taiwan also reversed the national trend of fewer DUI deaths from 2014 to last year, the TADD said.
Ending the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and higher-than-normal summer heat have perhaps played a role in the rise of fatalities by increasing social drinking and encouraging car use, it said.
Taoyuan’s 506 DUI fatalities were the second-highest number in the nation, it said.
Drunk-driving fatalities in Yilan County showed a 21.5 percent decrease, and Tainan had 76 less fatalities, which represented a 17.7 percent decrease, it said.
Yilan and Tainan are the two jurisdictions that have made the biggest progress in dealing with drunk driving in the country in the January to May period, TADD said.
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