The government should align the minimum driving-ban period under newly proposed drink-driving penalties with other related laws, to prevent drink-drivers from losing their licences for longer than drivers who kill someone, a transport policy watchdog said yesterday. The Transport Advisory Committee had urged the government to address the discrepancies, chairwoman Teresa Cheng Yuek-wah said yesterday after a meeting on the government's proposal for a three-tier penalty for drink-driving. 'The government said it will merge and align' the penalties under different laws, she said. 'The adjustments will be done at the same time to avoid any time lapse.' The South China Morning Post reported on Monday that first-time drink-drivers would have their licences suspended for a minimum of six months, one year or two years - depending on whether their alcohol level exceeded 50 milligrams, 80mg or 150mg per 100 millilitres of blood. The current minimum is three months' suspension regardless of alcohol level. For second-time offenders, the minimum suspension will be raised to two years, three years and five years, respectively, from a minimum of two years at present. That means drink-drivers may face longer disqualifications than people convicted of dangerous driving - who are banned from driving for at least six months upon first conviction and 18 months for subsequent offences. The penalty may also be heftier than for those convicted of dangerous driving causing death, who face a minimum suspension of two years on first conviction and three years for a second offence. Former cargo-van driver and trade unionist Ben Leung Wai-bun said a minimum of six months' suspension for first-time drink-drivers seemed harsh. 'Losing a licence for six months can be devastating for a career driver.'