China will link compulsory automobile liability insurance rates with drink-driving records, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) said Thursday.
The scheme, which will come into effect from March 1, 2010, will penalize drunk drivers and raise drivers' safety awareness, a statement on the CIRC's official website said, citing a notice jointly issued by the CIRC and the Ministry of Public Security (MPS).
The notice said the new scheme will be executed on a local basis, with punishment varying according to location.
Under the progressive scheme, a person who drives a car after drinking but without being intoxicated will, the first time he/she is caught, have to pay an insurance rate 10 to 15 percent higher than the normal the following year; first-time drunk drivers would be subject to a rate 20 to 30 percent higher; repeat drunk drivers will have to pay insurance rates up to 60 percent more than normal.
Driving under the influence is the biggest traffic hazard, according to a MPS survey conducted on several web portals in mid-December. Out of 20 hazards, 70 percent of the survey respondents choose intoxicated drivers as the number one hazard.
Chinese police authorities launched a nationwide campaign to crack down on drunk driving in August and nabbed more than 304,000 drink-drivers during a four-and-half month period.