SEOUL, Dec. 10 (Korea Bizwire) — A bill to amend the Road Traffic Act, also known as the Yoon Chang-ho Bill, was passed at the National Assembly last Friday to change DUI standards for the first time in 57 years.
Previously, drivers found to have a BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) of more than 0.05 percent would see their license suspended, while a BAC over 0.1 percent would result in their license being revoked.
Under the new legislation, driver’s licenses will be suspended if the driver’s BAC exceeds 0.03 percent, and revoked for a BAC exceeding 0.08 percent.
This is the first amendment ever to be made to DUI standards since the Road Traffic Act was enacted in December 1961.
A BAC of 0.03 percent is equivalent to drinking one shot of soju and waiting one hour before driving, indicating that not even a single shot of soju will be permitted for drivers.
The government’s DUI standards have been subject to constant criticism from the public, with many calling for stronger enforcement as well as punitive measures.
A survey conducted by the National Police Agency in 2016 showed that 75.1 percent of South Koreans supported the implementation of a stronger enforcement standard of 0.03 percent BAC.
The new bill had been pending at the National Assembly for some time, until the recent tragic death of Yun Chang-ho, a 20-year old who fell victim to drunk driving, brought the issue back to the forefront.
Other countries have even stricter DUI laws. In the Czech Republic, exceeding 0.00 percent BAC results is illegal, while Poland, Sweden, and Norway apply a 0.02 percent BAC standard.
Once the bill is implemented, South Korea will have stricter rules equivalent to those in Japan and Chile.
South Korea is considering the introduction of drunk-driving prevention devices that only allow a vehicle to be used if the driver passes an alcohol test.
In the United States, these types of devices were introduced in California in 1986. Now, most states make use of these devices to manage persistent offenders as well as first timers.
Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands also use similar devices.
“A bill that will mandate the use of prevention devices has been submitted to the National Assembly,” said a source from the National Police Agency.
“We’ll do our best to expedite the legislation process for these devices.”
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)