Criminal law may include drunk driving

08:45, April 29, 2010      

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A driver blows into a breathalyzer for a police offi cer in this fi le photo from Hubei province. QIU XIAOWEI / FOR CHINA DAILY

The country's leading police chief suggested on Wednesday that the top legislature add a new charge to the Criminal Law to stem drunk driving and illegal car racing, which have killed dozens of people in recent years.

"Studies on stipulating a new charge of 'driving motor vehicles in a dangerous way' are underway," Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu said while making a report on road safety to the National People's Congress Standing Committee.

The new charge targets illegal traffic practices, including drunk driving, the use of fake licenses, illegal car racing and overloading transport, which are believed to jeopardize road safety, Meng said.

Previously, it was only when severe consequences, such as deaths or injuries, have occurred as a result of these illegal practices that an offender has been accused of a "traffic offense" or of "endangering public safety".

However, the suggested charge to the law does not require severe consequences as a precondition for the charge, according to Zhou Guangquan, deputy dean of the law school at the Beijing-based Tsinghua University.

Meng also suggested raising the limit of punishment for traffic offenses from the current maximum jail term of seven years.

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