Punishment for post-crash alcohol consumption to be toughened

Wreck from a fatal car crash. Photo is illustrative. (PPA)
9/26/2016 5:18 PM
Source: BNS
Category: News

The Legal Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu has decided to form a work group to draft an amendment meant to toughen the punishment for consuming alcohol following a car crash.

Current law provides for a criminal punishment for drivers with a blood alcohol level exceeding 1.5 permille, but not for drivers who consumed alcohol, a narcotic substance or a psychotropic substance immediately following a car crash, even if their blood alcohol level exceeds 1.5 permille, spokespeople for the Riigikogu said.

"The current regulation enables an intoxicated driver who causes an accident to escape criminal punishment if he claims he consumed alcohol after the accident, i.e. the driver can ease his punishment by telling a lie," committee chairman Heljo Pikhof said. "It's not entirely consistent with the sense of the law and also hurts the people's sense of justice.

The task of the work group, formed of committee members and experts, is to come up with proposals for amending the law within two months, Pikhof said. At the same time, the group would review punishments for other traffic-related offenses, such as leaving the scene of an accident and failure to report an accident, and assess the possibility of establishing through expert analysis the exact time of consumption, she added.

Under current law, a driver can be punished with a fine of up to 1,200 euros, arrest or suspension of driver's license for up to 12 months for consuming alcohol, a narcotic substance or a psychotropic substance immediately following a car crash.

During the first eight months of 2016, the police have initiated 22 proceedings under the relevant provision.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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