Number of drunk driving fatalities in Taiwan rises sharply

Total for 2019 could double 2018's

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An accident involving a drunk driver led to 3 deaths in Taoyuan last August 24.

An accident involving a drunk driver led to 3 deaths in Taoyuan last August 24. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The number of deaths caused by drunk driving is showing a sharp increase, reaching 80 percent of last year’s total in just six months, the United Evening News reported Friday (August 30).

From January through July, a total of 77 incidents caused 81 deaths, with the number of fatalities possibly doubling compared to the previous year if the trend continues, the report said.

Over the past three years, the death toll showed ups and downs, albeit not excessively, with 102 deaths in 2016, 87 in 2017, and 100 last year, according to police data mentioned by the evening paper.

Since a tougher approach toward drunk driving was adopted on July 1, more thorough checks have been conducted. Nevertheless, six people died in drunk driving incidents this July compared to just two in July 2018.

However, police pointed out that the number of last month's drunk driving incidents dropped from more than 9,000 two years ago to 8,546 this July.

The United Evening News quoted police officers as saying they were on the lookout for drunk drivers every single day but that even though the checks had become more stringent, there were still too many citizens who drank and drove.