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Taiwan to raise maximum jail term for drunk driving to 3 years

Legislative Yuan adds fines to prison sentences for severe drunk driving accidents

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The death of a mother of two hit by a drunk driver in Kaohsiung in Dec. 2021 provoked calls for tougher sentencing. 

The death of a mother of two hit by a drunk driver in Kaohsiung in Dec. 2021 provoked calls for tougher sentencing.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The maximum prison sentence for drunk driving without causing an accident will increase from two years to three, according to a decision by a Legislative Yuan committee Friday (Jan. 21).

Public calls for tougher sentencing grew louder after a drunk driver with two previous convictions plowed into a family crossing a street in Kaohsiung City on Dec. 26, killing the mother and injuring the father and two daughters.

The Legislative Yuan’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee decided Friday to raise the maximum jail term for drunk driving from two years to three, and the maximum fine from NT$200,000 (US$7,200) to NT$300,000, CNA reported.

However, lawmakers and officials from the Ministry of Justice and the Judicial Yuan reached the conclusion not to change the jail terms for drunk driving causing death or injuries, but to add fines.

For deaths, prison sentences will remain between three and 10 years with a maximum fine of NT$2 million added. If the driver causes serious injuries, he will be sentenced to between one and seven years in jail with a maximum fine of NT$1 million.

The period during which a drunk driver can be considered a recidivist will be extended from five to 10 years, with deadly accidents punishable by a minimum jail sentence of five years with a maximum fine of NT$3 million, and injurious accidents punishable by a three to 10-year prison sentence and a maximum fine of NT$2 million.

The legislative committee also advised government departments to study measures taken in Japan to reduce problems caused by driving under the influence, CNA reported.