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August 15, 2009

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City joins a nationwide swoop on drunk drivers

SHANGHAI traffic police will from today intensify their war on drunk driving as part of a national initiative following a series of recent fatal road accidents.

China's police authority yesterday launched a two-month campaign against drunk driving aimed at preventing serious traffic accidents ahead of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1.

The campaign would focus on suspect drivers and vehicles, and offenders would face severe penalties, the Ministry of Public Security said.

Thirty motorists who drove under the influence of alcohol were caught within three hours in two districts on Thursday night, Shanghai traffic police said.

More than 30,000 such motorists have been caught this year. About 3,300 of them were driving while drunk.

As drunk driving often causes killer road accidents, lawyers and residents have both called for more severe penalties for the crime.

"Even if a driver has been fined 1,000 times, it is useless if he or she does not learn the lesson," said Liu Chunqian, a lawyer from Guangshen & Partners' Shanghai firm.

Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol usually face fines, suspension of driving licenses and detention.

For drunk-driving cases involving death and hit-and-runs, penalties are harsher.

Normally a drunk driver faces up to seven years in jail for causing a serious traffic accident in which people die or are seriously injured.

Shanghai traffic police said they would tighten up the crackdown on drunk driving around some drinking venues and ramps that lead to elevated roads.

The blood alcohol level of one Shanghai driver read 1.67 milligrams per milliliter yesterday, Hongkou District traffic police said.

It is illegal to drive if the level of blood alcohol exceeds 0.2 milligrams per milliliter.

A drunk driver, 36, is now under a 20-day detention and was fined 2,400 yuan (US$351) after injuring two pedestrians and crashing into four cars on August 8 inPudong New Area.


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