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New rules on drunken driving released

BY :China Daily

UPDATED :2023-12-22

China will strengthen its handling of criminal cases involving drunken driving, according to new guidelines released on December 18.


Jointly issued by the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice, the guidelines specify 15 scenarios subject to heavier punishment under the law, including the driving of a school bus with teachers and students aboard or transporting hazardous materials.


The guidelines, which take effect on December 28, also specify 10 scenarios in which a suspended sentence shall not apply, including hit-and-run, driving under the influence of psychotropic drugs or narcotic drugs controlled by the State, and obstructing justice.

(Photo/Guangzhou Daily)


In May 2011, the Criminal Law introduced the crime of dangerous driving, with drunken driving being an example of this behavior. In December 2013, a document issued by the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice clarified the criteria for drunken driving and standardized case-handling procedures, according to an official from the procuratorate.


Since then, the number of fatal traffic accidents caused by drunken driving has fallen significantly. The new guidelines aim to adapt to changing situations of drunken driving crimes, unify law enforcement and judicial standards, and strictly regulate drunken driving cases, the official said.


According to the procuratorate, dangerous driving has consistently ranked first in the number of cases since 2019, with more than 80 percent of people sentenced to less than three years in prison for such crimes. Dangerous driving offenses accounted for 18.2 percent of all prosecutions in 2022.


The official noted that the guidelines consider factors such as the degree of drunkenness, type of motor vehicle, road conditions, driving time, speed, distance, consequences, confession and repentance, in order to ensure a fitting punishment for the crime.


According to the guidelines, those causing traffic accidents or other crimes due to drunken driving will receive harsher penalties.


Citizens who surrender and confess after drunken driving or voluntarily plead guilty may be granted a lenient punishment.


The guidelines clarify that offenders involved in incidents with minor circumstances may be exempted from prosecution, and administrative punishments can be imposed for offenses deemed significantly minor.


Courts, procuratorates, public security organs, and judicial administrative organs are urged to shoulder their responsibilities and actively engage in law popularization, and strengthen publicity and education on road traffic safety.

Editor: Pauline