600 drunk drivers fined on opening day of police campaign

By Phuong Son   March 15, 2021 | 10:00 pm PT
600 drunk drivers fined on opening day of police campaign
A police officer has a driver breathe into a breathalyzer on the Phap Van-Cau Gie Expressway in northern Vietnam, March 15, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Phuong Son.
Traffic police across the country fined 604 people on Monday for driving under the influence at the start of a campaign to crack down on drunk driving.

Almost 90 were found driving on expressways.

The thousands of officers patrolling the streets also caught two people driving under the influence of drugs.

A 42-year-old man in Nga Son District, Thanh Hoa Province, who had a breath alcohol level of just 0.111 mg/liter, had his motorbike seized for seven days and will have his driving license revoked for 10-12 months and be fined VND6-8 million ($260-345).

Under the campaign that would last until December, officers would randomly patrol routes, including provincial and district roads, accident-prone spots and roads near bars, pubs and restaurants, Lieutenant Colonel Pham Duc Dong, deputy head of the road traffic patrol guidance division under the Ministry of Public Security's Traffic Police Department.

"On the first day of this major inspection campaign, most drivers obeyed the police's orders and only a few refused to pull over for random checks."

The Law on Preventing Alcohol's Harmful Effects, which took effect last year, doubles penalties for drunk driving.

A person with alcohol in their breath faces a fine of VND400,000-600,000 ($17-26) if caught driving bicycles or electric motorbikes.

The fines are VND6-8 million for motorcyclists and VND30-40 million car drivers, who will also have their licenses revoked for 22-24 months.

The mere presence of alcohol in one's system amounts to a violation, and anything from 0.4 mg/l in the breath or 80mg/100ml of blood attracts the most severe penalties.

Under the old regulations, any amount of alcohol was a violation for car drivers, but motorbike riders needed to have alcohol levels of 0.25 mg/l in their breath or 50 mg/100 ml in their blood to be penalized.

Last year more than 185,000 were caught driving drunk and 1,400 after using drugs, almost a 60 percent increase from 2019.

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