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Drunken driving crashes, injuries declining

Updated: 2014-10-21 07:50
By Wang Qian and Zhang Yan (China Daily)

After drunken driving was made a crime in 2011, the number of traffic accidents caused by driving under the influence of alcohol has been reduced by 25 percent, with casualties down nearly 40 percent, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Police nationwide dealt with 1.3 million cases of drinking and driving, and 222,000 cases of drunken driving in the past three years, according to statistics the ministry released on Monday.

"Alcohol-related driving seriously threatens the lives and safety of drivers and pedestrians, and we have zero tolerance for it and severely punish the drivers who break the laws," said Liu Chunyu, press officer of the ministry's Traffic Management Bureau.

Under the Chinese Criminal Procedural Law, drivers are considered drunk if they have 80 milligrams or more of alcohol for every 100 milliliters of blood. Drivers who test at more than 20 milligrams but less than 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood are considered to be under the influence of alcohol.

Under the amended Criminal Law and Road Traffic Safety Law of 2011, drinking and driving is punishable by jail sentences of from one to six months and fines.

"Police will tighten the crackdown on alcohol-related driving to protect public safety and guarantee a civil traffic environment," Liu said.

To reduce serious traffic accidents that result in tragedies, the ministry initiated a special monthlong action to crack down on drunken driving during the World Cup.

According to the ministry, police handled 34,000 alcohol-related cases during the FIFA World Cup, 17.6 percent less than during the World Cup four years ago.

Since 2011, more than 1,400 civil servants with alcohol-related driving were reported to the discipline and inspection departments.

"The key is to make people aware of the serious harm caused by drunken driving and to abide by the law," said Li Wei, a lawyer from Beijing Lawyers Society.

Authorities will increase drivers' punishment, such as fines or criminal charges, while publicizing more typical cases to educate them, she added.

Contact the writers at wangqian@chinadaily.com.cn and zhangyan1@chinadaily.com.cn

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