Toasting changes to drink-driving laws

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 January, 2010, 12:00am

The mainland's Public Security Bureau is considering new rules that could lead to drink drivers facing criminal charges, and their passengers, unspecified fines.

Some people seem to think drink-driving is not as serious as other traffic offences, such as speeding. They also think passengers are innocent of any crime, even if they know the driver of their vehicle has been drinking alcohol.

But people who drive after drinking not only put themselves at risk of death or serious injury, but also their passengers and innocent pedestrians. Not only are victims affected, but also heartbroken families.

Passengers should also be held responsible, if they know the driver had been drinking and did nothing to stop him or her.

These new rules should sound a warning bell to all drivers and passengers.

Chow Man-kwan, Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College

From the Editor

Thank you for your letter, Man-kwan. It is usual among adults who go out drinking to decide on a 'designated driver'. This is the person in the group who won't drink and will drive everyone home safely. This is, of course, the best way to avoid having someone drunk at the wheel.

Everyone agrees that when someone drunk takes the wheel of a car, they are committing a crime. They are doing something that could result in the death of innocent people. But punishing the passengers of a car with a drink driver at the wheel is another thing altogether. It would probably be difficult to figure out conclusively if they even knew how drunk the driver was - or perhaps whether he had been drinking at all. This is a complex issue that deserves careful consideration by legal experts and probably public consultation too.

The danger of this touted new law is that innocent people could end up being charged.

Susan, Editor