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Drunk driving cases plummet after fines hiked

The Local · 23 Aug 2010, 09:00

Published: 23 Aug 2010 09:00 GMT+02:00

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The former “grand coalition” government implemented the law on February 1, 2009, changing the fine for first-time drunk drivers from €250 to €500, and from €750 to €1,500 for third-time offenders.

Though the increases were widely criticised at the time, they have been effective, according to a nationwide survey by the Financial Times Deutschland.

The greatest improvement has been logged by authorities in Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where the number of drivers caught drunk behind the wheel dropped by 14 percent to 8,951 in 2009, the paper said.

In both Brandenburg and Bavaria cases dropped by 13 percent, while Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Rhineland-Palatinate saw reductions of eight and six percent respectively.

Berlin saw just a three percent drop, but with just 2,808 drunk drivers caught in 2008, the number remains relatively low, the paper said.

The incidence of alcohol-related car accidents also went down by more than 10 percent last year following an increase for 2008 before the new fines were instituted, the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) told the paper.

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While fewer drunk drivers may be on the roads, attempts to discourage speeding with higher fines have not made the roads any safer, the paper said.

For the first time in seven years, the number of accidents caused by high speed increased by 2.1 percent in 2008.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:35 August 23, 2010 by MonkeyMania
The police officer is checking for drunk drivers with a speed camera?
13:42 August 23, 2010 by NYsteve
Yes, MM....must be new technology...looking for the vapour trail from the alcohol....LOL!!!!

Seriously, these results are very good to hear...one of the easiest ways to prevent a LOT of crashes is get tough on alcohol & DUI. People can drink whatever they want and have a good time...JUST DON'T DRIVE!
14:26 August 23, 2010 by William Thirteen
Germans are penny pinchers - even when drunk!
15:42 August 23, 2010 by MonkeyMania
Ah good. The local changed the picture. That looks far more authentic. Just need to ask the people in the archives nicely and they will find what is needed. :-)
08:24 August 24, 2010 by biker hotel harz
Drinking and driving is of course completely stupid and because of my profession I don't drink any alcohol for 7 months of the year, however, way back in the early 80's I drove homer from a trade - do in the middle of nowhere and ended up getting lost in Bedford by the Black Swan in the town centre. Unbeknown to me, the right hand side headlight was out on my Renault 5 and a copper on foot approached me at the traffic lights whilst I was waiting for the green. I'd drunk at least 5 pints and my legs went to jelly. I wound down the window fearing the worst but all he did was tell me about the headlight and then remined me I could drive on on a green filter! That was the last time I ever drunk and drove!
14:41 August 24, 2010 by heathen
500 for first time offense? Where I come from, the minimum fine would be 10 times that, and including court costs and insurance increases, you're talking about $15k when all said and done...and 1500 for a third offense?!? W.TF sort of deterrent is that?
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