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Revised road traffic laws now in effect

Date Posted: 2009-06-04

Drunk drivers now face stiffer penalties—including license revocations instead of the old 90-day suspensions—under terms of revisions to the Road Traffic Law that went into effect Monday.

The number of points assessed for drunk driving is increased from 25 to 35, and the suspension period extended from two years to three. If the drunk driving incident involves an accident, the new law imposes a 3-7 years revocation. For hit and run drivers, the penalty is more severe, with loss of license for 10 years.

Senior citizens are now facing potential new restrictions on license renewals, with the new law requiring those aged 75 and older to take a test for measuring their memory and judgment. Government officials say drivers found to be with below-standard memory and judgment capacities will not automatically lose their driver licenses unless they’re discovered to suffer dementia. Even then, the new provisions would be applied from December 1st, when licenses expire, only in cases where they violated a specific traffic law.

Okinawa Prefecture Police say Okinawa drivers are the nation’s worst. Ten people died at the hands of drunk drivers in 128 accidents last year, the worst since 1995. Police are circulating new fliers and a book containing first-person accounts of people involved in drinking and driving accidents, and how their lives were changed.

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