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September 11, 2009

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Penalties warning for drunk drivers

ANYONE caught drunk driving in the city will face the maximum penalty allowed by law, traffic police officers said yesterday when clarifying an earlier notice issued by Shanghai Public Security Bureau.

Drunk drivers will face 15 days in custody, a 2,000 yuan (US$293) fine plus a six-month driving license suspension.

Drunk driving has been the cause of an increasing number of accidents across the country and the latest move is "to punish and prevent such violation of law and to ensure social stability," the bureau said.

According to the current traffic laws, drivers with a blood alcohol level between 0.2 and 0.8 mg per milliliter are considered to be driving under the influence of alcohol and will be fined 200 to 500 yuan plus a one to three-month driving license suspension. Drivers with a blood alcohol level between 0.8 and 1.5 milligrams per milliliter are defined as drunk drivers and will be detained for 10 to 15 days with a fine of 500 to 2000 yuan plus a license suspension of three to six months.

Under the new policy, anyone caught driving after drinking will be fined 500 yuan and suffer a three-month license suspension; anyone drunk driving will receive a 15-day detention, a 2,000-yuan fine and a six-month license suspension, the police said.

The police also said that drivers could be charged with the crime of "endangering public security by dangerous means," which had happened in a case in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. Sun Weiming, who killed four people and injured another while drunk driving last December, will serve a life term in prison after a successful appeal against a death sentence on Tuesday.

Following a nationwide crackdown on drunk-driving, Shanghai police launched a series of actions last month, stepping up alcohol checks and warning drivers of the dangers of drinking and driving.

So far about 158 people have been detained for drunk driving but police said the situation is improving.


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