Some drivers don’t believe that the drunk driving laws in Taiwan apply to them. In an effort to curtail drunk driving accidents, the government has increased patrols and plans to increase penalties on drivers.
Such news came too late for a 27-year-old Bulgarian man who was arrested for drunk driving about a month after he arrived in Taiwan.
Police in Taipei gave the man a roadside sobriety test at 1 am on May 15 and found he had a breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) of 0.44mg/L (BAC of about 0.1%). The man claimed that he didn’t know it was illegal to drive drunk in Taiwan. In a police video he asked in English, “Please tell me the rules in Taiwan. I really don’t know.” He claimed that DUI offenses in Bulgaria are not a serious offense, Central News Agency reported.
He reportedly asked police to not arrest him because he had to go to work in a few hours. Police denied his request.
The man had drunk three bottles of beer before driving home with his girlfriend. He was stopped along Section 3 Xinhai Road in Da’an District as police said the vehicle was swerving in the road.
The current maximum penalty for drunk driving resulting in death is 10 years in prison. A draft amendment to the Criminal Code passed in March would increase the penalty to life in prison.
There are more than 100,000 DUI cases in Taiwan annually, with about 40,000 of those being repeated offenders, according to government statistics. The legal limit for driving while intoxicated in Taiwan is 0.05% (BrAC 0.25 mg/L). It is also illegal to ride a bicycle while intoxicated.