Drunk drivers in Taiwan learn the value of lives in funeral home

Many felt pressured when knowing that they would be watching mortician performing tasks. Although the mortician used artificial human body during the lesson, some were still scared and shaking badly. (Photo courtesy of the Motor Vehicles office in Taoyuan City)
Many felt pressured when knowing that they would be watching mortician performing tasks. Although the mortician used artificial human body during the lesson, some were still scared and shaking badly. (Photo courtesy of the Motor Vehicles office in Taoyuan City)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — To raise awareness of the danger of drunk driving, The Motor Vehicles Office in Taoyuan City on Tuesday held a road safety lesson in a funeral home for people caught driving under the influence.

They were invited to attend the corpse cleaning and dressing at a funeral home in hopes of teaching them a life lesson.

According to the Traffic Police Brigade of Taoyuan City, there were 40 drunk driving recidivists in attendance this year.

One of them was caught intoxicated while driving 11 times.

They were not told that they would watch dummies being washed and dressed so several participants struggled to keep their calm. 

Starting in March this year, local authorities across Taiwan are cooperating with local funeral homes to hold road safety lessons for the drunk drivers.

Seventy-six recidivists were brought to class on March 7 in Banqiao, New Taipei. The first lesson in Taichung was held on April 16 with 43 people in attendance. Changhua joined on July 4, while Taoyuan kicked off such events on Sept. 24.

Taiwan authorities have taken a stricter attitude against intoxicated driving this year.

Besides the cooperation with funeral homes, stiffer punishment took effect on July 1 that not only the fine for the driver has become higher but even the adult passengers could possibly be fined as much as NT$3,000.

Taoyuan Motor Vehicles Office Director Lin Cheng-lang pointed out that intoxicated driving caused 3,088 people deaths and injured 36,000 people over the past five years.

Arranging such lessons in the funeral house is aimed at increasing students’ awareness of preserving lives and reduce intoxicated driving. 

In fact, Taiwan is not the only country that takes similar efforts to let drunk drivers learn to cherish lives. In Thailand, convicted drunk-drivers were brought to work in a morgue as punishment.

“In the morgue, they will have to be cleaning up and transporting bodies,” Thailand official Anurak Amornpetchsathaporn told Associated Press in 2016, “so that hopefully they would feel the pain, so that they may understand and attain a good conscience so that it could be safer on the roads.”

By Li Chun-tai (李春台) and Carol Kan