Citizens urge tougher penalties for driving under the influence

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images[www.inewsguyana.com– A poll conducted by iNews has found citizens are dissatisfied with the current penalties in place for persons found driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol.

Citizens are urging that tougher penalties be put in place to deal with the scourge which has resulted in the death of several persons on Guyana’s roadways.

During the poll, persons were asked “Should there be tougher penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol? To which 92 percent of participants voted yes, six percent voted no and a mere two percent were undecided.

The current penalty is a fine of $7500 for the first offence. For a repeat conviction, the drunk driver gets slapped with a 12-month disqualification from holding a driver’s license (and so barred from driving for the duration.)

Finally, for the incorrigible drinker who gets convicted a third time – it is “three strikes and you’re out!” the driver is permanently disqualified from holding or obtaining a license.

“Drunk driving is a serious crime and if anything can be done to remedy the situation it would be to have fines in the region of $100,000. That is a figure which would sober up drivers to the fact that they cannot drive drunk,” one contributor to the poll noted.

In other countries the downside risks of DUI, in addition to the fines and suspension, is the possibility of doing jail time as well as losing one’s vehicle.

According to local police statistics, at the end of December 2013 there was an increase by two road fatalities in comparison to the same period in 2012, with 112 fatalities from 103 accidents in 2013 compared to 110 fatalities from 102 accidents during 2012.

It did not specify how many of these accidents were as a result of persons DUI.

According to the Police, pedestrians have been the main road users affected with 39 such persons having lost their lives at the end of 2013.

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