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Drunk driver kills woman, then passes out
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A driver and his passenger are found passed out after their Jeep hit another car, killing one and injuring seven. 

A man was found passed out behind the wheel after he drove drunk and crashed into another car, killing a mother of one in Qingdao, Shandong province.

The man, surnamed Wang, was injured and is now in hospital. Police will detain him when he is released, local newspaper Qilu Evening News reported yesterday.

The female victim, aged 35, and surnamed Sun, was a worker in a factory in Qingdao and is the mother of a two-year-old boy.

She was killed last Thursday afternoon as she traveled in a car with four friends and two children. As they were waiting for the green light at an intersection, Wang's Jeep allegedly lost control and collided with her car.

Seven other people were injured in the collision, two of them severely. They are all in the hospital.

Wang's blood test showed that his alcohol content was 243 milligrams per 100 milliliters, three times higher than the standard for drunk driving.

Wang later said that he and his friend Liang drank a lot of liquor at lunch that day before driving to a construction site for business. On the way back, he ran into Sun's car at the intersection.

This is the latest case of drunk driving resulting in death.

Last month, Fu Cheng, a local official in charge of legal affairs, drove while drunk, killing three and injuring eight in Zhengzhou, Henan province.

He was charged with endangering public safety on Monday and is now in criminal detention.

Fu was also found driving without a license that day. He first ran into two people, tried to escape, then ran into another two, and finally stopped after he knocked down 11 people.

Another accident that aroused wide social response was in Nanjing, Jiangsu province on June 30 when Zhang Mingbao killed five pedestrians, including a pregnant women.

Zhang, 43, is a deputy general manager of a local real estate company. Tests after the accident showed that his blood alcohol content was 381 milligrams per 100 milliliters.

Nanjing police started a campaign the following day to crack down on drunk driving. In two days, the police announced they had caught 297 people who were driving drunk.

Another drunk driver, Sun Weiming, a 30-year-old company executive in Chengdu, Sichuan province who killed four people and injured one last year, was sentenced to death on July 23, accused of endangering public safety.

Sun is China's first drunk driver to be charged with "endangering public safety" and sentenced to death.

The increase in high-profile alcohol-related accidents recently has triggered calls for harsher penalties.

In China, the charge of a "traffic offense resulting in death" has a maximum punishment of seven years in prison. Jiangsu province-based lawyer Jia Zheng said drivers who kill people should be charged with an offense against public safety.

Wu Dong, a Shanghai-based lawyer, said China's criminal code does not clearly define the difference between a simple "traffic offense" and "endangering public safety," something that may lead to flexible interpretations and hurt public confidence in the legal system.

The highest court needs to develop explicit standards detailing the difference between the two charges, Wu said.

According to the Ministry of Health, road accidents are one of the main causes of death in China. In the first six months of this year, 29,866 people died on the roads, despite a 10.5 percent drop year-on-year.

(China Daily August 5, 2009)

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