So Shanghai may have found a ridiculous amount of drunk drivers during the most recent ten day crackdown on drunk driving (1200 people!), but it didn’t even make it into the top nine worst offenders.
The Ministry of Public Security released the nine provinces and regions with the worst drunk driving records yesterday: Inner Mongolia, Yunnan, Henan, Gansu, Heilongjiang, Tibet, Xinjiang, Guangxi and Sichuan.
According to the South China Morning Post:
The ministry said an average of at least 20 per cent of drivers in these nine places were over the limit.
“In some individual places, the offending rate was near 40 per cent,” a notice on the ministry’s website said.
The ministry said traffic police had caught 17,078 people for various offences in the first 10 days of a nationwide crackdown on drink-driving, and 2,403 of these failed a breathalyser test.
So why are the Chinese police on a sudden drink driving eradication binge? One reason is that statistics are just so insane: officials say alcohol played a role in a quarter of China’s 265,000 traffic accidents this year. Considering the celebrations planned for the 60th anniversary, a crackdown was probably seen as the only way to ensure that half of Beijing’s population doesn’t die come October.
There’s also the recent spate of highly publicized drunk driving killings, always a topic sure to sure to stir up public anger – especially since most of the offenders are rich in money or political power.
Of the most famous: An official in Shandong was accused of killing two people and injuring three while driving under the influence over the weekend. On Monday, a woman was killed in Fujian when a drunk driver in a police van mowed her down at a pedestrian crossing. Meanwhile, a local official in Henan killed three and injured eight last month, first running into two people, then knocking down another two when he tried to escape and finally stopping the car after he’d already hit 11.
And then there’s the case of Sun Weiming, the first person in China to get the death penalty for a DUI. The 30-year-old company executive from Sichuan killed four people and injured one last year. He was sentenced to death on July 23. Some feel his upper class status and a desire to “sate the public” had more to do with the verdict than the actual harm he caused.
Ironically, one of the people to be caught by the new drunk driving dragnet was… a party official responsible for punishing civil servants that drink and drive. Liang Huiming was detained last week. Says the Telegraph UK, “he made several calls to his friends and colleagues to plead for help, and told the the police about his job. “He confessed to drunk driving, but he appeared to try to use his power to avoid the testing,” said a traffic police officer who declined to be named.”
Photo from CRI English