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Patricia Ribeiro

Zero Tolerance for Drinking and Driving in Brazil

By July 21, 2008

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Brazil has a new zero tolerance law for drinking and driving, valid all over the national territory. The law, which came into effect last June 19, has spurred the debate about the dangers of driving under the influence. Studies which informed Law 11.705, commonly referred to as Lei Seca, or Dry Law, conclude that there is no risk-free limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) in drivers.

The previous BAC to configure a DUI in Brazil was .06. The Dry Law goes beyond tackling drunk driving to crack down on impaired driving.

However, a great number of Brazilians feel that there is still more to be done. According to a national survey about alcohol consumption in Brazil, the heaviest drinkers in the country are people between 18 and 24 years of age. The legal drinking age in Brazil is 18, but the consumption of alcohol is growing among younger people, aided by a lax enforcement of laws against the sale of alcoholic beverages to minors.

Comments
July 21, 2008 at 5:33 pm
(1) Keith says:

Zero tolerance doesn’t work because it fails to take into consideration alcohol in the blood that might be present from other sources besides alcohol that is imbibed. It could come from cough medication, for example.

July 21, 2008 at 6:42 pm
(2) Sukhmandir Kaur says:

This seems like a move in the right direction. I often wonder why here in the US we don’t either legalize all drugs or make alchohol illegal too, as it absolutely affects judgement.

July 22, 2008 at 12:34 pm
(3) Lynne says:

Based on the statistics involving traffic accidents and alcohol in the U.S., this sounds like a good idea. It doesn’t have to sound like prohibition! Many areas have public transportation available for those who choose to inbibe, and there is always the option of a designated driver…

July 24, 2008 at 12:29 pm
(4) Ricardo Brandau Quitete says:

The law has some positive aspects. The most important is that after it came into effect, the number of accidents caused by drunked drivers decreased.

July 27, 2008 at 1:29 am
(5) Oswaldo Paradelo says:

I was pretty convinced that this law wouldn’t last long and its effects wouldn’t be so positive. I’ve seen the Police in action here in Sao Paulo (specially at night) and the statistics have convinced me: the number of deaths have dropped sharply since the law was approved.

Keith said “zero-tolerance” may not work with people that take some kinds of medication. That is true and polemic – Brazilian government has assured that in certain cases (patients with proof of chronic disease or certain medication) the limit level can be changed.

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