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June 1, 2011

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Drunken driver pleads guilty

A MAN who was the city's first drunk driver caught after a tougher road safety law took effect on May 1 pleaded guilty at a court hearing yesterday.

Xu Huaxing, 36, apologized for drunk driving and begged for probation.

"I should bear responsibility for my mistake," said the defendant, who received his driving license last December.

On the afternoon of May 1, Xu, a machinery factory employee, was driving a borrowed car when he hit the rear of a van, slightly injuring six people inside, near the intersection of Lianfu Road and Jiuxin Highway in Jiuting Town, prosecutors said.

When traffic police arrived, they could smell alcohol on Xu and used a breathalyzer on him. Since the test showed Xu was drunk, police took his blood sample for further tests.

The alcohol amount in Xu's blood was 184 milligrams per 100 milliliters, exceeding the standard of 80 milligrams per 100 milliliters, the Songjiang District People's Court heard.

Xu told the court he was driving back home after attending a wedding party. He said he was not aware that drunk driving was a crime. "I used to persuade others not to drive after drinking," the defendant said.

Xu has paid 73,000 yuan (US$11,231) in compensation to the victims, he said. He said he had borrowed money to pay the compensation as he was not rich.

His monthly income was about 2,000 yuan and he had to support his 14-year-old daughter.

Under the new road safety law, drunk drivers who cause "severe consequences" can be jailed for up to six months.

Previously, they faced administrative penalties like fines and suspension of driving license.

Now drunk drivers face heavier fines and suspension of their driver's license and are not allowed to acquire another driving license until five years later.

The court didn't hand down any verdict yesterday.

Meanwhile, another man surnamed Jin was formally arrested yesterday for drunk driving.

Jin was caught driving under the influence of alcohol on the night of May 10 at the crossing of Zhenda and Zhenbei roads by traffic police. His blood test result showed 111 milligrams per 100 milliliters. Police also found he was driving without a license.

Jin had earlier been sentenced to two years in prison with probation in another case. He was still on probation when he was caught yesterday.


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