Drunk driving on the rise in Latvia

For the third year, the number of road accidents involving drunk drivers has risen, Latvian Television's journalist Dāvids Friedenfelds reported February 16. 

In 2021, there were 808 recorded accidents involving drunk drivers, compared to 733 in 2020 and 663 in 2019, according to the State Police's information.

Chief of State Police Armands Ruks believes that some of the drivers still do not understand what damage can be done by sitting under the influence of driving the car. In his opinion, criminal liability could be one way of punishing irresponsible drivers.

“The story is not about more people getting criminal liability, but about avoiding [drunk driving]. To understand that these people commit a criminal offense. That driving in a state of heavy intoxication is a criminal offense. People just don't get it,” Ruks said.

The Saeima opposition has called for the introduction of criminal liability for driving a car under the influence of more than 1.5 promille blood alcohol content. The Justice Department is also preparing amendments. State police stress that modern technologies – unmanned aircraft and 360-degree cameras – are increasingly planned to be used to monitor drivers.

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