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FSC to introduce increased penalties for DUI in March

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC, 金管會) recently announced that beginning March 1, drivers will face punitive surcharges on their compulsory auto insurance for each additional law enforcement citation for driving under the influence (DUI), in addition to legal consequences.

During the Chinese New Year holidays, the high season for widespread revelries and drinking, the FSC stated for each additional DUI citation received, the offending drivers will be required to pay an NT$2,100 punitive surcharge on their compulsory auto insurance policies, in an effort to deter drunk driving. The FSC stated that punitive payments will increase indefinitely at a rate of NT$2,100 per DUI citation, and that the new change will extend to all vehicles owned by motorists.

In addition, beginning March 1, insurance carriers will begin retroactively assessing motorists' driving records for compulsory auto insurance policy applications. In the future, drivers found to have DUI infractions on their records within the previous one-year time frame will be required to pay an additional NT$2,100 punitive surcharge per instance. For commercial vehicles such as coach buses and rental cars, whether or not additional punitive surcharges will be imposed is dependent on the records of DUI infraction of the driver.

Citing statistics from the National Police Administration, the FSC stated that the number of persons with DUI incidents reached a staggering 14,000 from 2009 to 2011, of which 418 were fatalities. The FSC stated that the move is designed to deter the tremendously destructive impact of DUI incidents on society, amid growing public awareness of the heinous crime, following several high profile and tragic DUI fatality cases in recent years.

According to insurance companies, the change will help prevent innocent drivers from bearing the consequences of their more unscrupulous peers, as the cost burdens of insurance claims resulting from DUI incidents will be absorbed by perpetrators. Due to the compulsory nature of the auto insurance, it would not be in-line with the expectations of social justice if the additional costs of insurance claims are borne all motorists.

The FSC urged the public to consider the consequences of driving drunk, and enjoy revelries and alcohol responsibly.

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