DUIs drop by 20% after tough new law enforced

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DUIs drop by 20% after tough new law enforced

The number of drivers caught driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) decreased by about 20 percent in the first week after a tougher anti-DUI law took effect on June 25, police said Wednesday.

According to the National Police Agency (NPA), 270 DUI offenses were reported on a daily average nationwide from June 25 to July 1, down 19.2 percent from a daily average of 334 offenses in the first five months of the year.

Under the revised law, a driver’s license is suspended when the blood alcohol level is 0.03 percent or higher and is revoked when the level is 0.08 percent or higher.

Previously, the corresponding levels were 0.05 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.

The new law is also named the Second Yoon Chang-ho Act after an Army conscript who was killed by a drunk driver in Busan last year. The death prompted the National Assembly to revise two separate laws for tougher DUI punishment.

The First Yoon Chang-ho Act, which came into effect on Dec. 18 last year, increased the penalty for DUI offenses resulting in deaths from “at least one year” to “three years or longer.”

The new law is expected to bring great changes in the drinking culture and lifestyles in a society, which is relatively lenient to drinking and drinking-induced accidents, because chances are high that only a small cup of liquor now can result in a drunk driving violation.

Of the 270 drivers booked on DUI charges in the first seven days following the enforcement of the Second Yoon Chang-ho Act, 182 had their licenses revoked and licenses of 79 others were suspended, the NPA said, adding 26 of the 79 were punished for blood alcohol levels under 0.05 percent.

The police agency noted 63 of the 270 DUI offenses were caught between 10 p.m. and midnight, followed by 55 between midnight and 2 a.m., 32 between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., and 29 between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. It added 24 drivers suspected of driving hungover were caught between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Meanwhile, the number of drunk driving accidents also fell 23.1 percent from 39 to 30 on a daily average before and after the Second Yoon Chang-ho Act went into effect.

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