Drunk driving offenders to have prison sentences in future ({{commentsTotal}})

Four young people died in a worst car crash this year when a 23-year-old drunk driver lost control of an aged Audi A6 and hit a tree in Tartu County. Source: (Taavi Eilat/ERR)

The government is planning to introduce new and stricter punishments for driving under the influence (DUI).

The Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalud briefed local media on Tuesday on the plan to introduce much tighter laws for dealing with drivers who are repeat offenders.

“If a person has received a criminal penalty for drunk driving once, he or she would get a real prison sentence after the second offense,” Reinsalu told ERR.

The minister added that offender's license would be revoked for at least three months and they would also need to complete a “therapy program” in order to be allowed back on the road.

Reinsalu said that if a repeat offender causes an accident which results in fatality, the law would consider it on the same seriousness as murder in future.

The minister said that according to a study conducted this summer, the current justice policy has not had a desired impact on those DUI drivers who have already been punished once or twice before.

“I believe that the shock prison sentence would have a desired effect. A person would sense the fear for being imprisoned and this might motivate them to avoid driving while drunk,” Reinsalu said, adding that offenders who have been punished once, will start receiving annual reminder letters from the police that warn them with real confinement should they slip up again.

The ministry is also proposing to introduce fines for passengers who agree to travel with DUI drivers.

Editor: S. Tambur

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