More than 300 people fined on first day of new DUI regulations

Over 300 fined under tougher laws for driving under the influence across Taiwan

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(CNA photo)

Taipei, July 2 (CNA) More than 300 people were fined under tougher laws for driving under the influence (DUI) across Taiwan on Monday, the first day of implementation of the new regulations, according to the National Police Agency.

Based on the agency's latest statistics, the fines were issued to 357 people, including passengers who were traveling in vehicles driven by drunk drivers.

Effective July 1, anyone caught for DUI will be subject to stiffer fines, ranging from NT$30,000 (US$965) to NT$120,000, while the penalty will be NT$15,000-NT$90,000 for motorcyclists.

And for the first time, the amendment also penalizes passengers, who are liable to a fine of between NT$600 and NT$3,000 if found in a vehicle driven by a drunk driver.

The stiffer penalties came into force after amendments to the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act, which cleared the legislative floor March 26.

Among those fined, statistics show that after breathalyzer tests, 32 motorists and 69 motorcyclists were issued tickets for having alcohol content in their blood exceeding the legal limit of 0.15mg per liter.

The NPA said a total of 198 people were caught with a blood alcohol content exceeding 0.25mg/l, which is considered an offense against public safety.

Meanwhile, 25 were passengers caught for riding in vehicles driven by drunk drivers.

According to NPA statistics, 26 people were each handed a hefty fine of NT$180,000 for not stopping at a checkpoint or refusing to take a sobriety test.

Based on the amended law, drivers and motorcyclists who do not stop at a checkpoint or refuse to take a breathalyzer test risk a fine of NT$180,000, double the previously-enacted NT$90,000 fine.

The other remaining fines were either issued to cyclists for DUI or for refusing to take a breathalyzer test.

The NPA warned that anyone caught riding a bicycle, electric bike or tricycle under the influence of alcohol will be subject for the first time to a fine of NT$600-NT$1,200, while those who refused to take a breathalyzer test will be fined NT$2,400.