Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) stressed the importance of reaching a social consensus against drunk driving during a May 17 event organized by Taiwan Against Drunk Driving (TADD), which he founded.
Ko expressed concern over DUI-related casualties and the mounting burden on Taipei’s police required to conduct sobriety checks. More than 25% of people in prison have been convicted of DUI-related crimes, according to statistics cited by the mayor. He added that the public sector should work to reduce DUI fatalities via education and preventive measures.
Ko’s administration has allocated a proportion of the budget to anti-DUI campaigns, with a cross-department task force established in July 2015 led by the Department of Social Welfare. Taipei’s proposal to tighten DUI regulations, following lobbying efforts by TADD, passed the preliminary reading at the Legislative Yuan on April 26. The amended law will require both the driver and the passengers in the vehicle to bear criminal liability.
The mayor noted that the city government is also actively advocating changes to the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act and related traffic rules at the Legislative Yuan, seeking to effectively address drunk driving through law enforcement.
While there is a practice forcing DUI offenders to work at funeral parlors as a form of deterrence for further violations, Ko said that prevention is more important than punishment. With the designated driver service being criticized for high fees, the mayor encourages people to consider taking public transportation if they know they would be drinking.
Taiwan recorded more than 104,000 drunk driving incidents last year, with about 20% of drivers being repeat offenders.
Source: Department of Information Technology, Taipei City Government