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The Diet enacted an amendment to the road traffic law Thursday to impose tougher penalties on drunken drivers and those who provide them with alcohol, vehicles or agree to ride in vehicles driven by them.

Under the revised law, enacted by the House of Representatives in a plenary session and expected to take effect this fall, people who drive while intoxicated will face a maximum prison term of five years or a fine of up to 1 million yen, compared with three years or a 500,000 yen fine before the law was revised.

Drivers considered to be under the influence of alcohol although the amount consumed has not reached a level deemed to constitute drunkenness, will receive a maximum prison term of three years or a maximum fine of 500,000 yen, up from one year or a 300,000 yen fine.

People who provide alcohol to drivers or provide vehicles to people who are drunk will also be subject to stiffer penalties than before the revision, when they received only half the drivers’ penalties.

The penalties for hit-and-run drivers were raised to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to 1 million yen, up from five years or 500,000 yen.

If a drunken driver causes a hit-and-run accident, the driver will face a maximum prison term of 15 years, compared with 7 1/2 years under the previous law.

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Deadly drunk drivers face stiffer penalties

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