Traffic police prepare for Palmares

The Fiestas Palmares begin today, and so does a traffic police effort to enforce the laws on those who travel to the community.

The head of the Policía de Tránsito, Mario Calderón, said that as many as 110 officers will be fielded on days when the festival has major attractions.

That included Thursday when the tope horse parade is held as well as the carnival Jan. 22.

Then there are the concerts Sunday and Jan. 24. There also will be traffic police assigned to patrol inside the festival grounds to enforce parking rules and handle any accidents.

Police usually set up checkpoints on the major routes to Palmares.

For years the Palmares festival provided easy pickings for traffic police seeking to detain drunk drivers. With stiffer penalties under the latest traffic law, more motorists are cutting back on the beer. The agency said that officers confiscated just 39 vehicles from drunk drivers last year. But they also handed out more than 1,000 traffic tickets.

The agency said that there will be strict enforcement even to catching motorists with something in the hand while driving. Usually motorists consider this to mean a cell telephone, but police said that the law extends to holding a can of soda while driving.

And special attention will be paid to protective seats for minors.

Those festival goers who enjoy the beer tents and similar activities usually take public buses. There are several charter services offering Palmares trips.

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