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June 4, 2013

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Police revoke licenses of 3,700 drugged drivers

NEARLY 3,700 motorists caught driving under the influence of drugs have had their licenses revoked for five years in Shanghai since a new rule came into effect last September, police said yesterday.

The Ministry of Public Security adopted the rule to curb the rise in drug-related accidents. Prior to that, there was no specific measure dealing directly with drugs and driving.

The rule came after 14 people died and 20 were injured when a tourist bus bound for Shanghai hit the side rails of a highway in the city of Changshu City in neighboring Jiangsu Province.

The driver was found to have taken drugs to keep himself awake.

The new rule on drugs and driving is not as severe as one already on the books related to drunken driving.

Those caught driving under the influence of drugs are subject to jail terms only if deaths or casualties occur.

The law related to driving under the influence of alcohol, enacted in 2011, stipulates mandatory jail terms of at least six months even if no one is injured by the driver.

Lawyers and the general public have been urging that drug-taking motorists be treated the same as drunken drivers under the criminal code.

"Officials at the national level are still studying plans for a law to jail drivers under the influence of drugs," said Wang Jun, director of the office of the Shanghai Drug Prohibition Committee. "But a decision hasn't yet come."

Police declined to say how many traffic accidents in the city are caused by drugged-up drivers.

However, at least three major accidents involving drugs have been reported in the local media in the last 12 months.

On March 30, a man who drove and ran into 11 cars, four motorcycles and a moped on Lingyan Road S. and Changqiang Road in the Pudong New Area was found to have driven under the influence of methamphetamine. Four people were injured in the accident, police said.

Police said drug users are at risk of fatal overdoses or suicide. "They can be even more threatening if they are out driving on the roads," Wang said.


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