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Police Promises to Get Tough on DUIs

Date Posted: 2000-03-17

A study by Naha City Police on data of drunk drivers stopped in the city during 1999 concluded that most of them did not seem to care about their getting behind the wheel after visiting a drinking establishment. As a matter of fact, 43% had planned to drive home even when they knew in advance that they were going to have drinks.

The study also found that about half of people who were riding in the same car, did not say anything to the driver even if they knew that the diver was drunk. “Okinawa is like a paradise for drunk drivers,” was the comment of one of the police officers that helped to compile the study.

Consequently, the police is now planning to get tough on both drunk drivers and attitudes. To achieve that, they are studying the legality of punishing not only the drivers but also those riding in the same car if it can be proven that they had been drinking together or knew that the driver was under influence and should have tried to prevent the driver from getting behind the wheel. One punishment under study is to revoke the passenger’s driving license as well.

The police conducted the survey throughout the year 1999 by asking some 18 questions of each of 665 persons who had been held for driving under influence of alcohol and their passengers. 70% of those who were in the same car admitted that they knew that the driver had been drinking.

Most of those who were caught were stopped between two and three in the morning. 50 were nabbed as late as six in the morning. Perhaps the most worrisome aspect of the survey’s results was that 54% of those who were held for drunk driving were young people under 20 years of age, who are not even supposed to drink alcohol in the first place.

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