Drunk Drivers Face two Year Prison Terms in Poland
Drunk drivers in Poland face up to two years in prison under new laws which came into force Friday, but experts said its implementation would overwhelm Poland's already overburdened justice system.
Under previous regulations any driver caught with 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per liter of blood could be held for a maximum of 30 days.
Some 200,000 people were arrested in Poland last year for drunk driving, having caused over 12,000 accidents.
Krzysztof Petryna, vice president of the Warsaw district court, predicted that the number of cases the court must consider will increase by 50 to 60 percent.
He told the daily Rzeczpospolita that the new regulations were "the latest step in the destruction of the Polish justice system as we don't have the judges or the courtrooms to handle the cases."
He said courts had not received extra funding to handle the additional cases.
The Warsaw district court had a backlog of over 19,000 cases at the beginning of 2000.
Under the new regulations judges may also fine drunk drivers or apply parole-type conditions.
Fines range from 50 to 5,000 zlotys (13-1,300 euros, 11.50-1,150 dollars) -- WARSAW (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)