The Transportation Committee of the Legislative Yuan yesterday passed amendments to the “Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act” (道路交通管理處罰條例), in which it increased penalties for drunk driving-related cases, Apple Daily reported.
Taiwan recorded more than 104,000 drunk driving incidents last year, with about 20% of drivers being repeat offenders.
The amendment increased the minimum fine from NT$15,000 (US$498) to NT$30,000 (US$996), with repeat offenders now facing five years in prison and an additional fine of at least NT$90,000 with no maximum limit. Refusal to take a breathalyzer test will result in a fine of NT$180,000.
Passengers in the vehicle who allow someone to drive drunk could face fines of NT$6,000 to NT$12,000.
In response to the new penalties, some netizens have said that the law is too harsh, particularly in relation to passengers and those who allow their fellow citizens to drive drunk. Many people don’t prevent others from getting behind the wheel out of fear of consequences.
Some netizens commented that if employees try to prevent their bosses or supervisors from driving after drinking, the employee may lose his or her job. Readers noted that it should not be a crime to sit in a car with a drunk driver because the passengers may not know how much the driver has had to drink.