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Taipei Mayor calls for bolstered drunk-driving prevention

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) at a monthly traffic council meeting yesterday urged that instances of drunk driving be reduced through increasing road checkpoints, as there are more celebrations at the year's end resulting in an uptick in traffic violations.

According to the Department of Transportation (DOT, 交通局) of Taipei City, cases of drunk driving and traffic violations increased recently due to year-end celebrations. The Traffic Division of the Taipei City Police Department reported that there were in total 798 drunk driving cases which resulted in one death and six injuries. Also, Taipei recently saw an increase in the number of illegal temporary parking incidents, which frequently cause traffic jams.

In addition, continuous rainfall and low temperatures also led to an increase in the number of cars on the road in recent days, based on recent statistics.

Hau specifically pointed out that he sometimes noticed that police did not arrive on the site of traffic jams in time to direct and disperse traffic. Hau demanded that each police substation improve their handling of traffic dispersion in their administrative districts and make sure that police can arrive at the scene of traffic jams as soon as possible.

As for other traffic violation cases, Hau said that he hopes that police can come up with a more specific plan to prevent serious traffic accidents. Although citizens may complain when they are fined or punished by police for violating traffic rules, it is necessary to take action and enforce traffic regulations to guarantee the safety of citizens.

“Anything will be worthwhile as long as we can actually reduce the amount of accidents,” Hau said.

Not only should the relevant authorities advocate that citizens follow traffic rules, but they should also punish those who violate them in order to eliminate traffic violations and accidents, said Hau.

Hau also reminded the DOT, the Police Department and the Department of Environmental Protection (DOEP, 環保局) that they must be prepared for the task of dispersing huge crowds and clearing garbage after the New Year's Eve countdown celebrations in front of Taipei City Hall.

Non-smoking Bus Stations

Taipei's Department of Health (DOH,台北市衛生局) announced that smoking will be restricted at 27 bus stations on Xinyi Road (信義路) starting from Jan. 1, and those who violate the regulation will receive a fine of NT$2,000 to NT$10,000.

The DOH pointed out that the aim of this new regulation is to reduce the hazards posed by second-hand smoke, since the department had received over 20 complaints about this issue this year. The DOH cooperated with the DOEP, the Public Transportation Office (PTO, 公共運輸處) and the DOT to promote the establishment of non-smoking bus stations.

Chen Rung-ming (陳榮明), director of the PTO, said they will carefully evaluate the effectiveness of this new regulation and hopefully expand the non-smoking bus stations to other sections.

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 Snowfall spotted in rare regions as Taiwan seizes white December 
A woman holds a no-smoking sign at a bus stop on Xinyi Road (信義路) in Taipei, yesterday. Xinyi Road will be the first district in Taiwan that restricts smoking at bus stations. (CNA)

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