Designated driver services in China profit from drunk driving regulations

12:14, February 08, 2011      

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The first Spring Festival after China revised regulations on drunk driving has stimulated the market for designated driver services. According to the law, entitled " Regulations on the Application for and Use of the Motorized Vehicle Driving Licenses", which was implemented April 1, 2010, drunk driving may result in the suspension of a driver's license.

Hundreds of companies, which offer designated driver services, appeared in big Chinese cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Zhengzhou in 2010.However, the 24-hour online reservation services can hardly meet the demand during the Spring Festival, which is also called the Lunar New Year holiday.

In Beijing, designated driver services charge by the mile, similar to a taxi. The services may also charge a rate depending on whether the location is within or outside the city.

According to 8 Year, a Beijing-based auto club, clients are mainly public servants, company managers and night owl clubbers. While some dodged drunk-driving punishment thanks to designated driver services, others argued that the fledging sector may cause some problems and needs to be regulated.

What if clients lose their belongings in their cars? What if the designated driver escapes when traffic accidents happen? Where can clients file a complaint?

Qiang Lei, vice President of the Beijing Business Management College, said that clients of "designated driver service" are often groggy drunk, so the service agreement they sign may be the focus of controversy.

Miao Yueru, a member of the Beijing Committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, suggested last year that regulations should be worked out for the administration of the sector. He added that the city's Administration Department for Industry and Commerce should allow designated driver services to register. Miao also proposed that traffic authorities should set up special departments to supervise such companies.

Shanghai began to oversee the registration applications of these companies in 2009, and Chengdu, the capital of the southwest China province of Sichuan, issued an announcement about registration and administration of the sector in late 2010.

Beijing had registered 4.7 million motor vehicles by the end of 2010, which roughly requires 3,000 designated drivers each day.

Source: Xinhua

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