|▲Drunk driving can take someone’s life.|
On September 9th, a female drunk driver hit and killed a delivery man who was driving a motorcycle in Eurwangni. She was found to be driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.1 or higher which is above the legal level. There was a man in the car who had been drinking with the driver. The passenger said that he was drunk and thought the driver was a designated driver. The assailants’ statement is being discredited as CCTV footage showed them coming out together from the same hotel room. Police booked the woman on suspicions of drunk driving, a man on aiding and abetting. The drunk driver was charged under a law that increases the level of punishment for drivers who cause serious injury by drunk driving. The bereaved family is raising awareness about drunk driving in hopes that this kind of accident will not happen again, and wants the perpetrator to be punished accordingly.
A revision to the law on the aggravated punishment of certain crimes, called the Yoon Chang-ho Act, is being implemented. The law allows people to recieve a sentence of up to life in prison if they are involved in accidents due to drunk driving. Nevertheless, drunk driving accidents are still occuring. The laws regarding drunk driving have been strengthened, but in fact, courts still avoid sentencing perpetrators with maximum fines or probation. The courts often believe that drunk driving does not necessarily lead to traffic accidents, and that sentences should be reduced if a driver offers a sincere apology. The Yoon Chang-ho Act aims to raise the level of punishment for drunk drivers and strengthen the laws regarding drunk driving, but it is a nominal bill that is not enforced. There was also a case in Daejeon where a drunk driver injured two people, but the court declared him innocent of drunk driving. In this case, when the assailant drove his car, it was difficult to conclude that his blood alcohol level was above the control limit.
People say that drunk drivers should be held fully responsible for the accidents, and any deaths caused by drunk driving should be viewed as murders. The punishment for drunk driving should be strengthened to reflect this. Since the laws against drunk driving are not actually enforced, accidents involving drunk driving continue and people keep getting injured and killed. Song Min-kyung, a student in the Department of International Relations at Changwon National University, said, “I think this is a typical misuse of probation. The purpose of probation is to give one more chance to the offender depending on the situation, such as mental health reasons, or if the offender was drunk when they committed the crime. But the current trial cases in Korea show that the probation is overused and abused.” In addition, she pointed out the misuse of probation and said punishment should be strict, especially for drunk driving. Drunk driving has a very wide range of victims and can easily lead to death. That is why even if a perpetrator commits a crime while drinking, they need to face severe punishment.
The number of drunk driving accidents this year has increased compared to the past five years. Due to COVID-19, people have been paying less attention to drunk driving, which has led to more people trying to get away with drunk driving. Police said they will work on raising awareness of the dangers of drunk driving, and the punishments that drunk drivers face. The government will set the next two months as a period for an intensive crackdown on drunk driving. Police stations in cities nationwide will strengthen regulations such as increased patrolling at least twice a week, arresting drunk drivers who are repeat offenders, and considering passengers as accomplices. Driving under the influence of alcohol, which can destroy families, should no longer be covered up or excused for any reason. It is time for the strict application of the law based on every incident of drunk driving.
By Bae Yun-bin, reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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