Mayor Ko Wen-je stressed the importance of reaching a social consensus against driving under influence during an event organized by Taiwan Against Drunk Driving (TADD) on May 17.
As the founder of TADD, Ko expressed his concerns over casualties caused by drunk driving and the mounting burden on the City’s police force to conduct sobriety checks. Statistics showed that over 25% of people imprisoned have been convicted of crimes related to DUI, he pointed out. The public sector should work to reduce alcohol-impaired driving fatalities through means of education and preventive measures.
According to Ko, his administration has allocated a significant proportion of the budget to anti-drunk driving campaigns since taking office. A cross-department task force was established in July 2015, which is led by the Department of Social Welfare. The City’s proposal to tighten regulations on DUI, following lobbying effort by TADD, has passed the preliminary reading at the Legislative Yuan on April 26. The amended law will require both the intoxicated driver and the passengers in the vehicle to bear criminal liability.
The mayor noted that the city government is also actively advocating changes to the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act and related traffic rules at the Legislative Yuan, seeking to effectively address drunk driving through law enforcement.
Commenting on the practice to force DUI offenders to service at funeral parlors as a form of deterrence, Ko remarked that the measure has been implemented but emphasized that prevention is more important than punishment. With the designated driver service being criticized for high fees, the mayor encourages people to consider taking public transportation if they know they would be drinking.