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【Taipei】The Chinese New Year has always been the peak season for drink driving accidents in Taiwan. According to a statistics released by the National Police Agency, Ministry of the Interior of Taiwan, there were 543 persons killed in drink driving accidents in 2007. Although the number of deaths in 2007 was lower than the 727 dead in 2006, drink driving increased and reached 10,000 every month.
In order to remind people to avoid the dangers of drink driving, Taiwan Beverage Alcohol Forum (TBAF) and Taipei County Government launched a public campaign “The designated driver is a guardian angel, who can take you home safely” today. The head of Taipei County Government Chou Hsi-wei, and the legislator Hsieh Kuo-liang attended the conference to promote a designated driver, and hope that the “designated driver“ concept will take root in Taiwan.
TBAF also designed two activities aimed at the alcohol consumer in an effort to counter the drink driving problem. The first one is to invite six business enterprises as an alliance to promote a designated driver in their year end party. TBAF provided a five day four night free trip to Malaysia to companies participating in the event. They advocated the designated driver movement and signed a convention of five rules.
Second, TBAF hold a test driving game demonstrating the importance of safe driving. The head of Taipei County Government Chou Hsi-Wei and the legislator Hsieh Kuo-liang played the game and competed to see who would be the designated driver at the conference. TBAF will set up a test driving game chamber tonight to promote the “Designated Driver” at Luxy for a month. The consumer can experience a test drive as a designated driver at Luxy and may win a souvenir as a designated diver.
Frank Chang, Chairman of TBAF, said that the designated driver is responsible for driving friends home safely. Alternatively, they should go home by taxi or public transport to prevent drink-driving accidents. To combat to drink driving, we initiated the “Designated Driver” campaign in 2006 and demonstrated it through advertising & consumer events regularly since then.
Mayor Chou said that the number of casualties caused by drink driving became the highest ratio in total traffic incidents. Two people were killed a day on average, and 25 percent of accidents were caused by drunk driving. The highest number of incidents occur among the 30 to 39 age group. In an effort to counter the problem, Mayor Chou and his government will support the designated driver campaign and enforce continual roadside alcohol test to reduce drink driving accidents in Taipei County.
Legislator Hsieh has been dedicated to tightening drink-driving laws for a long time and the Legislative Yuan passed a new law in December 2007. The new law is enhanced by a fine increased from thirty thousand to one hundred and fifty thousand for drink driving. In addition, the fine for drink driving for military personnel is increased from one hundred thousand to two hundred thousand. The new law is effective from January 2008. Hsieh will strengthen the legal limit of breath alcohol level from 0.25 mg/liter to 0.15 mg/litter and establish the idea of repeat offender who may be imprisoned.
In order to enhance the awareness of “Designated Driver” campaign, TBAF will co-work with Taipei City Government and Diageo, who are sponsors of the designated driver road flag in downtown Taipei. The road flags are expected to be seen on January 20th till February 19th. The event is to remind people to be responsible and act as a designated driver to take friends home safely.