Drunk drivers to lose their license faster in new bill

Dutch police officer doing a traffic check (Stock Photo: Politie)Dutch police officer doing a traffic check (Stock Photo: Politie)

People caught driving while intoxicated will lose their driver's license faster according in a new legislative proposal Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security presented. The bill also states that people caught driving with their license suspended or revoked, will face prison, NOS reports.

With this bill the Minister wants to give judges more powers to tackle alcohol and drug use in traffic more strictly. The bill gives them the option to revoke or suspend a driver's license with immediate effect after a ruling. The driver in question is then banned from driving a car, even if they are appealing the ruling. Currently they're still allowed to drive pending the appeal ruling. Judges will also be able to impose a driving ban of up to five years. Anyone caught violating that ban will face prison.

Drivers who receiving a driving ban of two years or more will lose their driver's license, which means that they will have to take the driving test again after the ban. The driving ban will not only apply to drivers who are caught intoxicated behind the wheel, but also to "other forms of road piracy", Grapperhaus said in his bill, according to NOS. He spoke of "notorious traffic offenders who regularly ignore the rules". 

The Dutch government has been tying to tackle driving under the influence for years. But the number of convictions for this crime keeps increasing, according to figures from he Council for the Judiciary. The number of fatalities caused by alcohol in traffic also more than doubled in two years. In 2016 a total of 13 people died in accidents related to alcohol use. Last year there were 36 such fatalities, according to figures NOS requested from the police.

Despite this increase, Grapperhaus believes the chance of being caught driving drunk remains high. "There may be fewer trap checks, but we are now checking in a much more focused way, with inconspicuous cars", the Minister said, according to the broadcaster. "And with this new system, people will see: it is tit for tat. If you are so irresponsible that you go into traffic with alcohol or drugs, then you will know it too."