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May 3, 2011

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Tougher penalties for drunk drivers

CITY traffic police have caught two drunk drivers and suspended their licenses for six months, in a crackdown over the weekend.

The two motorists are among the first punished under a modified traffic law which came into force on Sunday, with tougher penalties for drunk drivers.

Under the new law, drunk drivers who cause "severe consequences" face criminal penalties and can be jailed for up to six months.

Previously, they faced administrative penalties.

Drunk drivers also face heavier fines, having their license suspended for a longer period and are not permitted to acquire another driving license for five years.

Fines have been increased to between 1,000 yuan (US$154) and 2,000 yuan from the previous figure of 200 yuan to 500 yuan. Suspensions have been raised from between one and three months to six months.

And previously, some drivers whose licenses had been suspended were able to keep driving by sitting another driving test and obtaining a new license.

According to police, two drunk drivers were stopped on Huaihai Road and Songshan Road early on Sunday morning.

In addition to the six-month suspension of their driving licenses, the two drivers also face fines of 1,000 yuan and 12-point penalties.

Drivers who receive a 12-point penalty have to wait six months after getting their license back and then must go back to driving school.

1st one punished

Meanwhile, a 36-year-old drunk driver allegedly injured five people in an accident in Songjiang District on Sunday afternoon.

Police said he may become the first local driver to receive criminal penalties for drunk driving under the modified road safety law.

The accident occurred at 2pm on Lianfu Road, when the man, surnamed Xu, is alleged to have hit the rear of a van with his Audi.

The van crashed into a tree, injuring five people inside.

Residents commenting online about the new law said they agreed with tougher punishments for drunk drivers.

"Now that drunk driving has become a crime instead of a violation of law, when people at parties try to persuade me to take a drink I have more solid reasons to refuse," said a 32-year-old resident, surnamed Wang.


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