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September 8, 2009

China struggles with drunk driving sentencing

As one who is always concerned with the US approach to sentencing drunk driving, I was intrigued to see this AP story from China concerning that country's struggle with this crime and effective punishments.  Here are excerpts from the piece:

An appeals court in China overturned the death penalty Tuesday in a drunk driving case, sentencing the defendant instead to life imprisonment.  Sun Weiming, 30, was sentenced to death after being convicted for a fatal accident last December that killed four people and injured another in southwestern Chengdu.  It was reportedly the first time a death penalty had been given in a drunk driving case in China....

His original sentence was made amid a two-month nationwide crackdown against drink-driving launched in August following a series of fatal accidents involving pedestrians and drunk drivers.  Enforcement of laws against drunken driving has traditionally been lax and police easily bribed or otherwise persuaded to expunge convictions.

However, a recent spate of highly publicized drunken driving incidents has sparked outrage in the media and on the Internet.  The problem has tapped into disgust over China's yawning gap between the rich and poor after a young man driving his father's Porsche SUV killed a 16-year-old waitress earlier this month.

Drivers in Beijing can be cited as drunk if they have a blood alcohol level at or above 0.02, or 20 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.  That is much lower than the U.S. limit of .08, making virtually any consumption of alcohol by drivers illegal.

September 8, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Eye for an eye, is that fair? I'm not sure if the death sentence is what is needed, but as a student I definitely see the need for stronger punishments than just a slap on the wrist. Even the sports world lets a fatal accident go by with no real punishment, what does that teach our generation?

Posted by: drunk driving | Oct 20, 2009 4:54:01 PM

The .02% allowable BAC level is pretty extreme. A person who goes over board with their mouthwash could register a .02% reading. The average person would only have to take a few drinks off a beer to register a .02%. I'm all for stricter penalties when it comes to drinking and driving, but that is a little extreme.

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