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Jail very drunk drivers, expert proposes

By Doan Loan   June 1, 2022 | 04:30 am PT
Jail very drunk drivers, expert proposes
A traffic police officer checks the alcohol level of a man in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Chinh
An expert with the University of Transport and Communications has proposed jail sentences for drivers with alcohol levels of over 240 mg in 100 ml of blood.

At a Tuesday conference on traffic safety in Vietnam, Le Thu Huyen said alcohol-related accidents account for around 36 percent of all traffic accidents in the country, while the global range is 11-25 percent. Most countries treat drunk driving as a crime and drunk drivers can be criminally charged even when they have caused no accidents, she said.

As an example, Huyen cited Japan, where drunk drivers could be jailed up to five years, and punishments could be harsher if they caused accidents that injured or killed others. In the U.K., drunk drivers could be jailed for six months and banned from driving for a year, she added.

Huyen suggested changes to current Vietnamese regulations on drunk driving, such as forcing drivers to retake license exams, using equipment to monitor alcohol levels in their vehicles, or even jail sentences.

Right now, drivers with alcohol levels of over 80 mg/100 ml of blood, or 0.4 mg/liter of breath could be fined up to VND40 million ($1,724) and have their license revoked for up to 24 months.

Huyen proposed that higher alcohol levels should warrant harsher punishments with jail sentences for those with over 240 mg/100 ml, a level where one is considered legally intoxicated in the U.S.

Tran Huu Minh, office head of the National Traffic Safety Committee, said the law already states that dangerous behavior such as consuming alcohol over certain levels can result in criminal charges, but does not add specifications. These should be added, he said.

"People who drink four glasses of beer cannot be punished the same way as someone who drinks 40 glass of beer," Minh said.

Dao Hong Thuy, a representative of the traffic police department, also agreed that dangerous behavior like drunk driving should have harsher punishments, even jail sentences, in order to improve traffic behavior.

 
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