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August 10, 2009

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Police focus on drink-drivers

SHANGHAI traffic police have intensified scrutiny on motorists who drive after drinking alcohol following a spate of recent accidents, some of them involving fatalities.

More than 20,000 motorists have been caught for drink-driving offences since April.

Police said yesterday they would continue the crackdown.

Two pedestrians were injured by a minivan driven by an alcohol-affected driver on Saturday night in Pudong New Area near Yinshan Road, according to police.

Officers said the driver hit four other vehicles, including two taxis, when he tried to flee the scene.

"I just drank two bottles of beer," said the 36-year-old driver, surnamed Jin, who underwent a blood-alcohol level test.

"I was not aware that I hit someone."

The hit-and-run driver first ran a red light, according to a taxi driver surnamed Han, whose cab suffered severe damage.

Jin's blood-alcohol level result is expected to be released today.

On Friday, Jiading District police detained a 27-year-old driver who had allegedly been drinking alcohol and was speeding in a borrowed car when it hit and killed a boy, 4.

The driver's car crashed into a minivan after hitting the boy, injuring five people in that vehicle.

Police said the driver's blood alcohol level was 0.36 milligrams per milliliter.

Police said it was illegal to drive if the level of blood alcohol exceeded 0.2 milligrams per milliliter - the equivalent to a large bottle of beer.

Drinking venues

Meanwhile, police said the recent crackdown had proved to be effective over a wide area.

Traffic police from downtown Jing'an District said more than 260 drink-drivers were caught in that area in July.

Jing'an police officers set up alcohol-testing checkpoints for drivers around popular drinking venues, including entertainment areas.

Plainclothes police were also used in the initiative.

Drink-drivers face fines of up to 2,000 yuan (US$293), under traffic laws. Penalties increase according to the level of alcohol in the blood and can include 15 days' detention.

Driving while drunk, however, is a serious criminal offence.

A 23-year-old man was charged by Jiading District People's Court with a number of offences, including causing death and injury and drunk driving, after one of his friends died during an expressway joyride in April.

And a southwest Sichuan Province court sentenced a drunk driver who killed four people in May to death on July 23 in the first judgment.


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