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Home NATIONALPolitical parties not keen to change law regarding drunk driving
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Tue, 18 Mar, 2014 12:08:52 AM
FTimes-STT Report, March 18
 
File Photo of an accident. Photo - Lehtikuva.
The political parties which have responded to the survey conducted by STT are not interested in having tougher penalties for drunk driving.
 
A citizen driven initiative currently in parliament proposes tougher punishment for deaths caused by drunk drivers calling for such cases to be considered as murder.
 
Several political parties argue that the law already provides for harsher sentencing and are in agreement that the application of the law should be left to the courts.
 
Timo Laaninen, the party secretary of the Suomen Keskusta (Centre Party) views that the application law should be standardised.
 
Laaninen said the penalties should be more substantial with regard to particular cases of serious incidents of drunk driving.
 
Only the Vihreä Liito (Green League) has shown enthusiasm of extending the penalty by law.
 
Outi Alanko-Kahiluoto, the head of the Greens parliamentary group remarked that citizens sense violation that drivers who cause death as a result of drunk driving get away with less penalty in comparison to penalty murder.
 
File Photo of Parliament House. Photo - Lehtikuva.
The Suomen Kristillisdemokraatit (Christian Democrats of Finland) believes stiffer penalties is a possible lever but the issue needs a wider assessment.
 
The Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party) did not respond to the email-inquiry which was sent to the parties in the government as well as the main opposition parties.
 
Earlier, on February 2, a citizen initiatives bill seeking tougher punishment for drunk driving was placed before the parliament as it already gained the necessary signatures required from the masses. 
 
Although 50,000 signatures are mandatory for forwarding the citizen moves to the legislative process, the initiative has already gained more than 60,000 signatures in favour of stricter penalties for drunk driving and the lowering of the legal limit level of blood alcohol content.
 
The citizen initiative was taken after the death of a young girl at Lapinlahti by a drunk driver in May 2012. However, it created debate among the legislators and other stakeholders.
 
Four out of five deaths on the roads in the country are a result of driving under the influence of alcohol. Eero Blåfield from the Association of Finnish lawyers, however, said only 2% of the drivers in the statistics revealed a blood alcohol content of 0.2-0.5.
 
Anna-Liisa Tarvainen, the head of Liikenturva, an organization charged with road safety responsibilities in the country said the law already had in place tough measures for dealing with driving under influence.
 
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