Drunken Drivers Face Heavier Punishments
By Kim Rahn
Drunken drivers face heavier punishment, as a series of bills are being planned to increase the standard for blood alcohol levels or punish passengers of such drivers.
Rep. Lee Myoung-soo of the Liberty Forward Party has proposed a bill to lower the punishable standard blood alcohol concentration level to 0.03 percent from the current 0.05 percent.
The current blood alcohol level was set in 1962. The 0.03 percent is the level measured when a person drinks two or three glasses of soju. Lee's bill also promotes a fine of 200,000 won on drunken drivers' passengers.
Another bill was proposed by Rep. Yang Jung-rye of the Pro-Park Geun-hye Alliance to re-issue driver's licenses to those whose license were revoked twice for drunk driving only after counseling with doctors.
Rep. Lee Chun-seok of the Democratic Party submitted a bill to have drunk driving suspects who refuse sobriety tests after causing accidents indicted even without the test. The bill is pending at the National Assembly's Legislation and Judiciary Committee.
According to a bill by Rep. Kim Jeong-kwon of the governing Grand National Party, those causing traffic accidents and refusing to take sobriety tests will be fined for drunk driving. Drivers will also have their licenses revoked if they drive under the influence twice or refuse to take the test twice, while the current standard for revocation is three such incidents. Such drivers will not be allowed to get their licenses back for three years, up from the current two years.
Another bill by the lawmaker was already passed at the assembly and will take effect in March; the punishment for those driving while drunk or refusing to take a sobriety test will get an increase of up to three years in prison or 10 million won fine from the current two-year prison term and five million won fine.