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December 18, 2009

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Drunk drivers in China now face double trouble

DRUNK drivers throughout China face double demerit points on their licenses under a new rule released by the state police authority yesterday.

The Ministry of Public Security said the new regulation would be effective from April 1 next year.

People caught drunk driving after that date will lose 12 demerit points on their licenses, up from six.

A motorist having 12 demerit points deducted in a year must undergo a seven-day training course on traffic rules before being allowed to drive again.

Under the new rule, the offending motorist must then pass a driving test by local traffic authorities.

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

The ministry has also decided to prolong the nationwide crackdown on drunk driving until December 31 as a deterrent to the anti-social and potentially deadly practice.

The campaign started in mid-August and was originally scheduled to end on October 15.

A total of 122,000 offenders had been caught nationwide as of last Thursday.

Of those, 19,000 drivers were detected with a blood alcohol higher than the upper legal limit, or 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, Xinhua news agency reported.

Nearly 110,000 drivers had their licenses suspended and close to 17,000 were detained for up to 15 days.

In order to thwart drunk driving, law makers are considering tougher legislation, including a clause that will penalize passengers who aid and abet offenders.

According to a draft by the ministry, passengers in the same vehicle as a drunk driver will be fined if it is deemed they did not make all reasonable efforts to stop the offender from getting behind the wheel.

The proposal also seeks to increase penalties on drunk drivers, including detention and life-long driving-license bans for repeat offenders.

Drunk drivers involved in fatal accidents deemed as manslaughter face up to seven years in jail instead of three years at present, according to the draft.

Drunk drivers in Shanghai already face the maximum penalties allowed by law.


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