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October 20, 2009

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Police to prolong crackdown on DUI

CHINA'S police authority has decided to extend the nationwide crackdown on drunk driving until the end of the year because the practice is still seen as a problem.

The campaign started in mid-August and was originally planned to end last Thursday.

A total of 122,000 offenders had been caught nationwide as of last Thursday. Of those, 19,000 drivers were detected with blood alcohol higher than the upper legal limit, according to Xinhua news agency.

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

During the same period, traffic accidents caused by driving under the influence of alcohol dropped 34.5 percent from a year ago and deaths from such accidents dropped 38 percent, the report said.

The Ministry of Public Security decided to prolong the campaign to the end of December because it's still a problem, Huang Ming, a vice minister, said.

Officers serving in the next phase of operations will keep tight control over the situation, he added.

Yesterday, prosecutors in Xianju County in Zhejiang Province approved the arrest of Hu Junkai, who allegedly hit and killed two college students on October 5 when he was driving under the influence of alcohol.

Hu faces a vehicle manslaughter charge.

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

According to a draft by the Ministry of Public Security, 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.

They could also be charged with the crime of "endangering public security by dangerous means."


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