|An police officer examines alcohol level in breath of a driver. — VNA/VNS Photo Việt Hùng
HÀ NỘI — Drunk drivers whose alcohol content exceeds 100mg for every 100ml of blood, or 0.5mg for every litre of breath, should be pressed with criminal charges instead of fines, experts suggested.
According to Government’s Decree on fines for traffic violations issued last year, car drivers with alcohol exceeding 80mg for every 100ml of blood or 0.4mg for every litre of breath will be fined VNĐ10-15 million, and bikers will be fined VNĐ2-3 million. Violators will also have their driving licences revoked for two months.
Nguyễn Văn Huyện, head of Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam, said the directorate had proposed criminal charges against drunk drivers in the amended Criminal Code in 2015.
Huyện pointed out that in other countries, drunk drivers with excessive alcohol levels could face imprisonment in addition to fines and revoked driving licences, Giao thông ( Transport) newspaper reported.
“In Việt Nam, despite strict punishment, drunken driving has not reduced, which seriously threatens road safety,” he said, calling for even stricter punishment.
Nguyễn Hữu Quế, director of Transport Department in the Central Highland province of Gia Lai, said many people were aware of the dangers of drunk driving but they intentionally drunk and drove.
“So, drunk driving should be considered an intended act causing serious consequences,” Quế said, emphasising violators must be punished with criminal charges.
Deputy head of National Committee for Road Safety Khuất Việt Hùng said besides drunk driving, other violations that caused death would also face criminal charges, and a relapse would invite more stringent punishment.
Hùng noted that Việt Nam’s punishment for drunk driving was strict enough to deter violators. The question was to improve law enforcement, he said.
Nguyễn Phương Nam, an expert from the World Health Organisation, said traffic accidents as a result of alcohol consumption were usually quite serious and that 68 per cent of the victims died within 30 minutes.
“Without proper control, the victims of drunk driving are likely to increase by 2020,” he said, noting that the Vietnamese people consumed alcoholic drinks at an alarming level compared to their counterparts in other countries. — VNS