Alcohol, Estonia, Legislation, Society, Transport

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Estonian Ministry of Justice targets repeated drunk driving

BC, Tallinn, 28.10.2015.Print version
Estonian Ministry of Justice presented on October 27th proposals aimed to reduce repetitive drunk driving cases; the plan is to toughen punishments and to make it compulsory for a drunk driver to pass a corresponding rehabilitation programme, reports LETA.

"Recently, a number of traffic accidents with serious consequences have occurred, caused by drunk drivers. Such severe accidents that end in death or serious injuries greatly offend the society's sense of justice. Therefore our first proposal is that if a driver in a state of criminal intoxication causes a serious traffic accident, which ends in serious bodily injury or death of a person, the level of penalty for that has to be raised, "said Justice Minister Urmas Reinsalu.


In, 28 people were convicted of causing a serious traffic accident, 19 of them were drunk. 22 persons received a suspended sentence.


It is also planned to tighten the punishment for repeated driving in a state of criminal intoxication and set a mandatory shock incarceration for repeat offenders. "Life has shown that suspended prison sentences and community service work only on the so-called decent people while repeat drunk drivers commit such acts again and again. Thus, in case of such behaviour, they cannot escape with a more lenient punishment anymore," said Reinsalu.


The ministry wants to prescribe also that in case of driving a vehicle while in criminal intoxication level, the driver's licence should be revoked for at least three months. At the same time, the law could also provide an opportunity preserve the driving right on condition that the person installs a breath alcohol ignition interlock device on their vehicle. This concerns in particular persons to whom driving is vitally important, e.g. related to income.


As a new offence the ministry wants to introduce the passenger's responsibility, if the passenger was aware of the driver's state of intoxication.


The minister said that tightening of punishments alone is not enough and more has to be contributed to prevention work, for example in the form of a rehabilitation programme for drunk drivers, especially for young and repeat offenders.

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