TAIPEI (CNA) — From July 1, anyone caught driving under the influence (DUI) will be subject to stiffer fines, while passengers in a vehicle driven by a drunk driver will also be penalized, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said on June 25.
The announcement came after amendments to the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act, which cleared the legislative floor March 26.
Under the amended act, motorists and motorcyclists convicted of first time DUI offenses will be subject to fines of between NT$30,000 (US$965) and NT$120,000, an increase from the existing NT$15,000-NT$90,000.
For second offenders, the fine will be set at NT$120,000, according to the amendment.
Anyone caught committing DUI for a third time will risk a fine of NT$210,000.
Prior to the amended law, motorcyclists and car drivers found guilty of drunk driving are simply fined NT$15,000-NT$90,000 each time.
The amended law also stipulates that drivers who refuse to take a breathalyzer or blood test risk a fine of NT$180,000, up from the current NT$90,000.
And for the first time, the amendment also penalizes passengers, who are liable to a fine of between NT$600 and NT$3,000 if found in a vehicle driven by a drunk driver.
Also effective July 1, cyclists caught riding under the influence will also for the first time be liable to a fine of NT$600-NT$1,200, while those who refuse to take a breathalyzer test will be fined NT$2,400.
In cases where a driver receives more than one DUI conviction, or refuses to take a breathalyzer or blood test over a five-year period, or is involved in an incident that results in serious injury or fatalities, the driver’s vehicle can be confiscated and his or her license permanently revoked.
As for drunk driving offenders who are instructed to install “breath alcohol ignition interlock devices,” the MOTC said the new rule is expected to be implemented in March next year.
By Wang Shu-fen and Ko Lin