Tightened traffic law brings down number of drunk driving cases in Q1

SEOUL, The number of cases of driving under the influence of alcohol fell sharply in the first quarter of the year after a traffic law aimed at toughening the punishment for drunk driving came into effect in December, the National Police Agency said Tuesday.

The number of people driving while intoxicated spotted by police came to 27,376 in the January-March period, down 27.7 percent from the same period last year.

During the reported period, the number of traffic accidents caused by drunk driving nationwide dropped 35.3 percent from a year earlier to 3,212, while the death toll from the traffic accidents and the number of people injured in such accidents also plummeted 37.6 percent and 37.3 percent, respectively, to 58 and 5,437.

The agency attributed the decline to the law, dubbed the Yoon Chang-ho law, that was enacted after Yoon, a 22-year-old soldier, died in November last year. He had been in a coma since September, when he was struck by a drunk driver in the southern port city of Busan.

The police, however, said they will continue to run a campaign on the seriousness of drunk driving as drivers' awareness level of drunk driving apparently remains low, adding that crackdowns on drunk driving will be frequently conducted regardless of time and place.

Under the revised traffic law that will come into force on June 25, the police will lower the legal limit of drivers' blood-alcohol level to 0.03 percent from the current 0.05 percent.

Source: Yonhap news Agency

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