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Parliament passes bill aimed at toughening punishment on drunk driving

Politics 15:04 November 29, 2018

SEOUL, Nov. 29 (Yonhap) -- The National Assembly on Thursday passed a proposal aimed at toughening punishment for drunk driving at its plenary session.

Parliamentary committees separately passed two revised proposals designed to increase punishment in the case of driving under the influence (DUI) a day earlier.

The so-called Yoon Chang-ho acts consist of a motion to make offenders face up to life imprisonment when DUI causes death and a bill to revise the road transportation law. Only the former was put up for Thursday's vote.

In October, more than 100 lawmakers co-authored the bill on drunk driving, prompted by Yoon's car accident.

Yoon, a 22-year-old soldier, died earlier this month after being in a coma since September, when he was struck by a motorist who was driving drunk in the southern port city of Busan.

Yoon's accident has sparked public outrage at drunk driving and lenient punishment on offenders.

Under the new bill, drunk drivers will face at least three years in jail and up to life imprisonment when DUI results in death. Currently, punishment is lighter as offenders face at least one-year jail terms.

In the case of injury, offenders will face jail terms from one year to 15 years, while the current law stipulates imprisonment of up to 10 years with no minimum term.

But Yoon's family expressed regret that the bill was not passed in its original form.

His family and friends demanded at least five years in prison in the case of DUI-induced death, but lawmakers cut the term to at least three years.

"I believed that the bill would be passed as it was. It is very regrettable that lawmakers do not read public sentiment," Yoon's father said.


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