China Goes After Drunk Drivers With Tough New Rules
VOA Breaking News (Voice of America)
May 3, 2011 at 11:25 am UTC
Chinese media say police have been cracking down on drunk drivers across the country since stiffer laws to curb the practice went into effect this week.
Previously, the harshest penalty for drunk driving was a six-month driving license suspension, and criminal charges were possible only if someone was killed. Under new laws that took effect Sunday, driving licenses can be suspended for five years and severe violations can lead to prison terms. Any drunk driver who kills a person or injures two people will be banned from driving for life.
The China Daily newspaper says that the first person prosecuted under the new laws in Beijing was a 25-year-old Mercedes-Benz driver from Inner Mongolia, who was stopped early Sunday morning, just 44 minutes after midnight. The driver had twice the legal limit of 80 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 milliliters of blood.
The newspaper says, in the southwestern city of Chengdu, 550 traffic police officers were conducting sobriety checks Sunday morning. In the city of Chongqing, 16 drunk drivers had been caught by 3 a.m. Sunday.
A popular news portal in Shanghai, xinmin.cn, conducted a survey on the new, tougher rules. It found more than 90 percent of respondents approve of the regulations.
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