Lawmakers want to stiffen the drunk driving section of a revised traffic law so that an average male drinking two beers within an hour could qualify as drunk.
A committee that presented a revised traffic law Wednesday also recommended to lower the drunk driving fine to 280,000 colons or about $558. The current law specifies a fine about $100 higher.
The existing law has been criticized for disproportionate fines. The Sala IV constitutional court has thrown out a stiff speeding fine for that reason.
Currently the legal limit for the blood alcohol of a driver is .50 grams per liter of blood, an equivalent to a .05 blood alcohol content. If the driver’s blood alcohol level exceeds .75 grams per liter of blood he or she faces possible prison, confiscation of the vehicle as well as the fine.
The proposed change would lower the blood alcohol level to .20 grams per liter of blood, an equivalent to .02 blood alcohol content. A 180 pound male who drinks two 12-ounce Pilsen beers at 5.1 percent alcohol each within two hours would
have the blood alcohol level of .21 grams per liter of blood, an equivalent to .02 blood alcohol content. This would make driving a vehicle against the law. The calculations were done through onlineconversion.com.
This new transit law was a unanimous effort from the transit committee in the Asamblea Legislativa. Members of the committee gave a press conference Wednesday to clear up what they considered a misunderstanding about the proposal. Earlier in the day several lawmakers gave a press conference to express their concern with the proposal. They thought that the proposed law would loosen up the legal blood alcohol level by raising the limit to .75 grams per liter of blood, an equivalent to .07 blood alcohol content. The opponents were also upset about the decrease in the fine and said the bill was enabling those who drink and drive.
According to Viviana Martin Salazar, from the Partido Liberacion Nacional, the reason the committee chose to lower the fine to 280,000 colons was that it was more reasonable than the current fine. She is one of the members of the transit committee along with representatives from the partidos Acción Cuidadana, Movimiento Libertario, Unidad Sociocristiana, and Partido Accesibilidad Sin Exclusión.