New stricter regulations for drunk driving came into effect on Sunday, and already two people have been caught. While before, the biggest threat to drunk drivers was “administrative penalties,” now those who cause some sort of harm because of their behavior could face “criminal penalties” and six months in jail.
In addition, fines have been increased to between 1000rmb to 2000rmb (five times the original amount), suspensions have been raised to six months and driving licenses won’t be granted for another five years.
The punishments are even heavier if you’re a vehicle operator (like a bus or taxi driver). If you’re found to have alcohol in your system, you can be detained for 15 days and pay up to 5000rmb in fines, along with not being able to renew your license for five years. If you’re found to be actually intoxicated (80mg/100ml of alcohol in your blood), then you could be held criminally responsible and not be able to obtain a license for 10 years.
The rules came hand-in-hand with a “Don’t Drink and Drive” police campaign that had officers camping out at some of Shanghai’s busiest intersections during May Day holiday nights to catch drunk drivers. Already, two have actually been arrested.
The first person to ever get punished under the new laws was a 36-year-old Audi A6 driver who rammed into a minivan in Songjiang District. The van then skidded into a tree, injuring the five people inside. He was taken away by local law enforcement.
The second was a taxi driver on Baili Lu. While driving away after drinking at a restaurant, he hit a vehicle parked on site. When security tried to get him to stop and pay up, he zoomed off, injuring one of the guards. Unfortunately for him, he ended up hitting another moving vehicle on Yingxing Lu and was caught by the police.
Generally, while drunk driving incidents at night have decreased (thanks to fear of police check points), drunk driving in the afternoon has actually increased a little. This may be because most people believe no one checks during the day.
One driver interviewed by Jiefang Daily said, “I heard that Shanghai police investigate every night, so I didn’t dare drink anything… but during the afternoon I hear they can’t control the situation, so I’ll sometimes drink a cup or two.”