BEIJING, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- Drink driving and street racing have been written into a draft amendment to China's Criminal Law as crimes, as part of the country's efforts to make its roads safer.
The draft amendment was submitted Monday to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, for its first reading.
Convicted drink drivers may face forced labor while in detention for one to six months and be fined, even if their actions cause no accident, according to the draft law.
Currently, drink drivers are detained for 15 days, according to the Law on Road Traffic Safety.
Drink driving and street racing have been heavily criticized by the public.
The amendment is a response to increased calls for more severe punishment of dangerous driving on Chinese roads.
In 2009, Chinese traffic police caught 313,000 drink drivers.
Prof. Zhao Bingzhi with Beijing Normal University said traffic accident crimes as stipulated in the Criminal Law are inadequate and ineffective in stopping drivers from racing or driving under influence of alcohol.
"The traffic accident criminal law only punishes those who have already caused an accident, which might involve deaths or serious injuries, or major losses of public or private property," Zhao said.
"Drink driving and racing are extremely dangerous so we can't wait for the accident to happen and then punish the perpetrator," he added.
Cheng Bin, an attorney at Beijing Guandao Law Firm, said including drink driving and street racing crimes into the law would prevent traffic accidents and better protect drivers and passengers.