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February 12, 2010

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Premiums to rise for drunk drivers

CONVICTED drunk drivers will have to pay up to 30 percent more in compulsory car insurance premiums beginning on March 1, the latest move to block dangerous drivers from China's roads.

Drivers found driving under the influence of alcohol will pay 10 to 15 percent more for the compulsory liability insurance.

Drunk driving could result in 20 percent to 30 percent higher premium. The maximum surcharge for multiple convictions is 60 percent, according to China News Service yesterday.

The Ministry of Public Security is working on the new policy with China Insurance Regulatory Commission, the country's top insurance regulator.

The new policy will come into effect gradually across the nation.

A series of manslaughter cases caused by drunk drivers last year highlighted the problem of drinking under the influence and prompted a nationwide crackdown on drunk driving.

Police have detained more than 38,000 drunk drivers in 313,000 cases. Authorities have suspended 280,000 driving licenses.

Zhang Mingbao, a Jiangsu Province driver who killed five people and injured four others when his blood alcohol tested at five times the legal limit, was jailed for life for endangering public security with dangerous means.

China introduced mandatory vehicle-accident liability insurance in July 2006. Family car owners pay 1,050 yuan every year for the insurance.

The current premiums float with a driver's license record.

Those at fault in fatal traffic accidents in the previous year must pay up to 30 percent more for insurance. Those who are involved in more than two accidents must pay 10 percent more.

In contrast, drivers with a record clean of accidents for three years can receive a 30 percent discount.


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