In an annual weeklong crackdown that ended Monday, police departments across Japan documented 4,383 instances of people driving under the influence of alcohol and arrested 149 people, the National Police Agency said in a report released Thursday.
Violators not arrested were fined and their licenses revoked.
The crackdown followed a recent spate of accidents resulting in fatalities and injuries caused by drunk drivers. On Aug. 25 in Fukuoka, three toddlers were killed and their parents injured after their sport utility vehicle fell off a bridge after rear-ended by a car driven by a drunk municipal employee.
In 27 of the 4,383 cases, drivers were found too drunk to drive, the report says. The rest involved drivers who were found in breath tests to be slightly drunk.
In addition to the 149 drivers arrested, the Aichi Prefectural Police arrested a 39-year-old man on suspicion of instructing his girlfriend, who was slightly drunk, to drive his vehicle.
There were also 13 cases in which people allegedly lent their vehicles to drunk drivers or gave them alcoholic drinks. The cases are still being investigated, the report says.
Drunken-driving violations averaged 626 cases a day during the weeklong crackdown, up sharply from the average of 393 a day last year, the report says.
On the other hand, the number of traffic accidents involving drunken drivers during the week came to 98, down sharply from 242 the prior year.
By prefecture, Aichi was on top with 484 drunken driving violations, followed by Chiba with 289 cases, Hokkaido with 234 and Okinawa with 223.
DNA database pays off
A DNA database of forensic evidence and samples collected from suspects has helped identify culprits in 610 crimes since it began last September, the National Police Agency said Thursday.
“The database is steadily making an achievement. We want to make use of the DNA data for a variety of investigations and increase the number of data stored in the database,” an NPA official said.
As of the end of August, the database had DNA samples taken from 4,190 known criminal suspects and 3,652 DNA samples left by unknown suspects at the scenes of unsolved crimes.
The database helped identify another 554 crimes committed by 408 people through its cross-referencing system.
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