Stiffer DUI fines hit the road tomorrow
By Enru Lin ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- It's about to get more expensive to drink and drive.
February 28, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
Starting tomorrow, the maximum fine for driving under the influence (DUI) is up from NT$60,000 to NT$90,000, according to the Taipei City Police Department Traffic Division (台北市交通大隊).
Police will mete out the maximum penalty to repeat offenders and to drivers who refuse a breathalyzer test, said division chief Chang Mang-ling (張夢麟).
Drivers who do submit to the test will be fined based on the result, he said, adding that the graduated penalty scheme will jump as well.
The legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.25 mg per liter. The maximum fine for BAC over 0.25 mg per liter goes up from NT$19,500 to NT$29,000 on March 1 in all cases involving passenger vehicles.
For BAC between 0.4 and 0.55 mg per liter, the maximum fine is adjusted from NT$34,500 to NT$51,500.
For BAC over 0.55 mg per liter, the maximum fine is up from NT$49,500 to NT$74,000.
Chang added that the Taipei City Government is rolling out a “zero-tolerance” campaign alongside the stiffer penalties. The campaign urges drivers not to touch the steering wheel after consuming any amount of alcohol, he said.
Prison and Bikes
Also starting March 1, drivers registering a BAC of 0.25 mg per liter could receive prison time under Taiwan's criminal code.
Under current law, DUI cases are sentenced according to the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act (道路交通管理處罰條例). If BAC exceeds 0.55 mg per liter, the driver can also be prosecuted according to the Criminal Code.
The minimum BAC for criminal liability drops to 0.25 mg per liter tomorrow, said the Taipei City Police Department.
According to Article 185 of the Criminal Code, drivers under the influence can be sentenced up to two years of imprisonment and fined up to NT$200,000. If the offense results in death, the offender can be imprisoned between one and seven years.
Chang also said law enforcement is set to strengthen patrols on motor vehicles and bicycles.
Many members of the public believe that they cannot be ticketed for operating a bicycle when intoxicated, but the offense can be punished as “dangerous driving,” he said.
An officer of the Taipei City Police Department briefs media on new penalties for drunk driving, Taipei, yesterday. (CNA)