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Drunk driving accidents in China decrease sharply due to harsh penalties: ministry


08:44, December 08, 2011

BEIJING, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- The number of drunk drivers has plummeted since May 1 this year, when an amended law that imposes harsher punishments to driving under the influence of alcohol was enforced.

In the seven months after the enforcement of the amended Criminal Law, police around China reported 33,183 cases of drunk driving, a 43.7 percent drop year-on-year, according to figures released by the Ministry of Public Security Wednesday.

In the same period, 584 people were killed in traffic accidents caused by drivers who had consumed alcohol, down by 23.2 percent.

The municipalities of Beijing and Shanghai, as well as Zhejiang and Hubei provinces, registered the sharpest decrease in the number of drunk drivers since May 1.

Zhejiang saw its number of drunk drivers plunge by 80 percent over the past seven months. The figure was 70 percent in Beijing and more than 50 percent in both Shanghai and Hubei.

The amended Criminal Law stipulates that all drunk driving incidents must be considered as criminal offenses, whereas the previous law imposed criminal penalties on drunk drivers only when they caused serious traffic accidents.

An amended Road Traffic Safety Law, which also took effect on May 1, stipulates that convicted drunk drivers will have their driving licenses revoked, instead of suspended, as in the previous law.

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