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Repeated drunk drivers must install breathalyzers in their cars

Repeated drunk drivers must install breathalyzers in their cars

Posted May. 21, 2024 08:27,   

Updated May. 21, 2024 08:27


Repeated drunk drivers will have to install a breathalyzer in their vehicle to get their license reissued. Starting in July, the government will impose a fine of 500,000 won on bus and taxi drivers who watch videos while driving.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, and the National Police Agency, in a joint effort, announced on Monday the 2024 plan to significantly reduce traffic fatalities. The government, committed to this cause, notes that the number of traffic fatalities last year was 2,551, the lowest ever. However, the number of traffic deaths per 100,000 people was 5.6 (as of 2021), ranking 28th among 38 OECD countries. This data underscores the need for continued efforts to improve road safety.

The government will implement a conditional license system starting in October of this year to prevent repeat offenders from driving again. The system requires drivers who have been caught drunk driving more than twice within five years to install a breathalyzer before they get their license reissued. The device measures how much alcohol is in the air a person breathes out and prevents the car from starting if alcohol is detected. The device and installation cost about 2.5 million won. The driver must pay the entire cost. It is estimated that about 15,000 to 20,000 people will be subject to this measure.

Safety management for pedestrians will be increased as well. The government will increase the number of right-turn signals in areas with frequent right-turn accidents from the current 229 to 400 by the end of the year. It will also conduct a pilot project to install right-turn blind spot detection devices on 50 large vehicles, such as buses. On roads with high vehicle speeds, the gap between crosswalks and vehicle stop lines will increase from at least two to three meters. It will support the installation of sidewalks and protective fences in areas with high child traffic, such as school routes.

For those aged 65 and older, the government is considering introducing conditional licensing with a driving ability assessment. This assessment will evaluate ‎their driving ability, potentially leading to restrictions such as prohibiting night driving or highway driving, or imposing speed limits as a condition for driving. “Once the study results come out by the end of the year, we will have further discussions, such as collecting public opinion based on the results,” said an official from the National Police Agency, emphasizing the government's commitment to considering all perspectives.

최동수 기자 firefly@donga.com