Get tough with motorists who choose to drink and drive

Whenever there is a tragic accident where someone is killed because a motorist was over the legal limit, there is a heated discussion about the problem of drink-driving.

Given that these accidents are front-page news, thanks to publicity campaigns launched by the government, most people, especially drivers, should now be aware that they should not drive after they have been drinking alcohol, because it affects their ability to control their vehicle.

Yet despite the stories and government adverts, these tragedies keep happening.

There has been some improvement since the introduction of random breath tests in February 2009.

I believe the main reason people continue to flout the law and decide to drive after drinking is that the punishments imposed are not severe enough.

I have been encouraged by government proposals to combat drink-driving and offer greater protection to innocent pedestrians and other road users.

It plans to tighten the current legislation.

This would include increasing significantly the minimum driving disqualification period and determining the penalties based on the amount of alcohol in the driver's system.

These proposals may appear to be logical. However, they do not go far enough.

Tougher measures such as these will still fail to stop drunk motorists getting behind the wheel of a car and causing terrible destruction.

People convicted of drink-driving may still only be banned for a few months or years.

This irresponsible act is not just doing harm to the drink drivers themselves, but the innocent general public.

Therefore they should be prohibited from driving for at least a decade.

Once someone is hurt or dies in the accident, the drunk driver, regardless of how much alcohol he had consumed, should be put in jail and lose his driving licence permanently.

I absolutely agree with the point raised by Norman Chan Hau-fai ('Passengers are also culpable', January 4) that passengers who get into a car knowing the person behind the wheel is over the limit should be held partially responsible for any accident that occurs.

However, if an accident proves fatal, no matter what punishment is imposed on the driver or passenger an innocent person has died.

Therefore the message must get across to drunk drivers that what they are doing is serious.

I hope that motorists will stop and think whenever there has been a fatal accident that involved a drink driver and realise that driving while under the influence is destructive.

C. Y. Leung, Mid-Levels