TAIPEI (CNA) — From July 1, anyone caught riding a bicycle, electric bike or tricycle under the influence of alcohol will be subject for the first time to a fine of NT$600-NT$1,200 (US$19.74-US$39.48), while those refusing to take a breathalyzer test will be fined NT$2,400, the National Police Agency said on June 30.
The agency made the announcement in a statement a day before amendments to the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act, which cleared the legislative floor March 26, come into effect on July 1.
Under the amended act, motorists convicted of first time DUI offenses will be subject to fines of NT$30,000-NT$120,000, while the penalty for motorcyclists is unchanged at NT$15,000-NT$90,000.
Those with two offenses in five years will face fines of NT$90,000-NT$120,000 for the second offense.
Prior to the amended law, motorcyclists and car drivers found guilty of drunk driving were fined NT$15,000-NT$90,000 each time.
The amended law also stipulates that drivers who do not stop at a checkpoint or refuse to take an sobriety test risk a fine of NT$180,000, double the current NT$90,000, with an additional increase of NT$180,000 for every offense thereafter, NT$360,000 for a second offense etc.
Drunk drivers face a two-year suspension of their drivers’ license, while those carrying children under 12 years of age or who injure others will be suspended for two to four years.
In cases when an offense leads to severe injury or death, the driver’s vehicle can be confiscated and his or her license permanently revoked.
The amended law also imposes a possible fine of between NT$600-NT$3,000 on anyone who is a passenger aged 18 or older in a vehicle driven by a drunk driver.
Passengers aged 70 or older, with mental disabilities or those traveling by bus or coach are exempt from the penalty.
The National Police Agency said that in order to demonstrate its determination to implement the new law, a nationwide campaign will be launched against drunk driving with checkpoints increased around Taiwan July 1-3.
Between 2014-2018, 341,448 drivers were convicted of first time DUI offenses, while 88,355 were convicted for a second time or more, according to National Police Agency statistics.
By Huang Li-yun and Evelyn Kao