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Guangdong gets tougher with drunken drivers

(China Daily)

11:04, September 03, 2011

GUANGZHOU - Any Party members or civil servants caught driving while drunk in Guangdong province will lose their Party membership and be fired, under a new traffic regulation.

The regulation, to take effect on Oct 1, mandates a series of harsher penalties for drunken drivers, such as blocking job opportunities for lawyers, police officers, judges, prosecutors, notaries and journalists.

Sources with the Guangdong provincial traffic administration authority said that the intention is to increase road safety.

Drunken drivers will not be allowed to head State-owned enterprises or become senior managers of commercial banking and security companies.

Joining the army will also be barred under the regulation.

Applications for emigration and overseas studies will also be affected, because some embassies will reject applications from criminal offenders.

Drunken driving, regardless of whether it has caused serious traffic accidents, will be considered an intentional crime, under the regulation.

Some civil servants said the regulation focuses too much on people like them.

"How about business people? Should they be barred from doing business if they are found guilty of drunken driving," said Zhao Xueming, a civil servant in Guangzhou, capital city of Guangdong province.

"The regulation should target drivers whatever their jobs are."

According to traffic law, drivers whose alcohol level exceeds 80 mg for every 100 milliliters of blood are considered drunk.

The regulation is the first to mete out penalties for illegal street racers, who will lose their drivers licenses, face fines of up to 50,000 yuan ($7,835) and be held criminally liable for any serious traffic accidents they are involved in.

Drunken driving has fallen sharply in China in recent months since an amended Criminal Law, introduced on May 1, stipulates "those who drive when drunk will be held criminally responsible and sentenced to jail terms of between one and six months and fined".

In the first half of May, drunken driving cases fell by 35 percent and a number of high-profile drivers were punished, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Gao Xiaosong, a 42-year-old singer, music producer and director, was sentenced to six months in custody and a 4,000-yuan fine in May after being found guilty of drunken driving and causing a serious traffic accident.

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