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More firefighters get drunk-driving bans

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Published : 2010-09-28 18:16
Updated : 2010-09-28 18:16

The number of firefighters caught driving while under the influence has increased, impairing their ability to protect the public, a ruling party lawmaker said Tuesday.

Rep. You Jung-hyun of the Grand National Party said the number of firefighters who had their driver’s license revoked for driving under the influence has continuously increased since 2005.

Although the firefighters were off duty when they were caught, firefighters can be required to respond to emergencies at any time.

“A firefighter’s calling is to respond to the needs of our citizens, protecting their lives and property. If firefighters get their driver’s license revoked or suspended, it will affect them in their line of duty,” Rep. You said.

“In order for firefighters to regain the public’s trust, I think we need to devise and implement measures until we are able to eradicate the problem of drunk driving,” he said.

As of the end of August, there were a total of 807 DUI cases committed by firefighters since 2005, according to the data submitted to the lawmaker by the National Emergency Management Agency.

Of the total, 420 firefighters had their licenses revoked. In 2009 there were a total of 92 cases. The number of license suspensions numbered 160 cases in 2008 alone. The total number of suspensions numbered 387 in the given time frame.

As of July this year, there are 36,014 firefighters across the nation.

By Robert Lee (rjmlee@heraldcorp.com)