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April 1, 2010

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New rule: Drunk drivers lose all demerit points

THE law gets tougher today on drinking and driving: Get caught driving drunk and you'll lose all the demerit points on your license.

Starting today, you'll also have to pay more for mandatory vehicle insurance if caught for drunk driving, police said.

A number of new traffic regulations, released by the Ministry of Public Security, go into force today around the country.

People caught drunk driving will lose 12 demerit points on their licenses, up from six. Motorists with 12 demerit points deducted in a year must undergo a seven-day training course on traffic rules before being allowed to drive again.

The double-demerit system is on top of already steep penalties for the offense.

As for the mandatory vehicle insurance, if a driver is caught driving under the influence of alcohol, the insurance rate will rise by 15 percent. Caught for drunken driving, the rate increase could be 30 percent more.

The insurance rule, first issued in 2006, aims to reward drivers with good safety records with discounts while forcing those with bad records to pay more.

Shanghai traffic police said that 1,024 people died last year in 2,831 traffic accidents. The death figure decreased by 5.3 percent compared with 2008.

Drunken driving caused 47 deaths, compared with 42 in 2008. Officers nabbed 11,000 cases of driving under the influence of alcohol, with 2,287 of those for drunken driving, defined by a higher blood-alcohol level.

Offenders in Shanghai already face the maximum penalties allowed by law, according to local traffic police.


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