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New traffic, health rules to take effect as new year commences

New traffic, health rules to take effect as new year commences

A number of new regulations that would affect locals as well as foreigners living in Taiwan are scheduled to go into effect tomorrow. These include rules that pertain to traffic, health insurance premiums, and air pollution.
Among the changes to the traffic rules is an increase in the fine for leaving a child under the age of six unattended in a vehicle from Nt$1,000 to NT$3,000.
A spokesman for the National Freeway Police Bureau said traffic police will strengthen crackdowns on violators on all freeways in Taiwan starting tomorrow in order to ensure traffic safety.
Drivers who are fond of speeding, who do not drive in the proper lanes, or who fail to keep a safe distance from other vehicles should be prepared to get traffic tickets if they do not change their driving habits, he said.
The Environmental Protection Administration also announced that beginning January 1, air pollution control fees will be levied on different grades of gasoline and diesel fuel.
According to the EPA, the fees attached to gasoline and diesel fuel will vary from NT$0.03 to NT$0.2 per liter, depending on the sulfur levels in the fuel products.
The fee schedule for gasoline will be NT$0.03 for premium gasoline, NT$0.075 for mid-grade gasoline, and NT$0.19 for regular gasoline.
As for diesel fuel, NT$0.03 will be levied on grade one low-sulfur diesel fuel, NT$0.075 on grade two diesel fuel, and NT$0.2 on grade three diesel fuel.
EPA officials said the minimal fees are not expected to have an impact on fuel prices, but explained that it is up to individual filling stations to decide whether they want to pass on the additional costs to consumers.
In the field of health, starting next year, the National Health Insurance Program will provide subsidies for the testing and treatment of AIDS patients who are Taiwan citizens, foreign spouses of Taiwan residents, and legal foreign residents in Taiwan.
The financial burden on employers who have been obliged to pay insurance premiums for the dependents of their employees will be reduced, as the National Health Insurance Bureau has agreed to lower the average number of dependents for each insured.
As part of its effort to improve the financial structure of the national health insurance program, the Department of Health will coordinate with the Ministry of Justice to stop what they described as a "black hole" in Taiwan's medicine pricing system.
DOH Vice Minister Chen Shih-chung said his department will require 528 hospitals and 1,339 medical suppliers in the Taiwan area to report before January 20 on the actual cost of their transactions after deducting various rebates, discounts, and other benefits given to hospitals and their staff. Shih said district prosecutors will bring legal action against persons in charge of hospitals and pharmaceutical companies that fail to report these costs before the deadline.