Drunk, Speeding Drivers to Face Stiffer Fines

Laws against drunk driving will become harsher as the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration will be cut to 0.03 percent from the current 0.05 percent and drivers who exceed the speed limit will have to pay fines of up to W180,000 (US$1=W1,077).

The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs announced the new regulations in a public hearing Thursday.

The legal limit for blood alcohol will be lowered to 0.03 percent. Generally, an adult man will have 0.05 percent blood alcohol an hour after three glasses of soju, and about 0.03 percent an hour after two glasses. That means any driver who has had just two glasses of soju could be fined.

The ministry will double the fines for drivers who exceed the speed limit by more than 40 km/h and increase fines from the current W90,000 to W180,000 after consultation with the National Police Agency. Drivers who exceed the speed limit by more than 60 km/h will have their driving licenses suspended or revoked after three strikes.

Since 1995, speeding fines have been a mere W60,000 for those who exceed a speed limit by 20-40 km/h and W90,000 for those who exceed it by over 40 km/h.

That is still very low compared to Germany, where drivers are fined 280 euro (about W430,000) for exceeding a speed limit by over 40 km/h, and Japan, where it costs 35,000 yen (about W470,000).

englishnews@chosun.com / Jun. 24, 2011 12:29 KST