The Lake Chapala area has been chosen as a new focal point for Jalisco’s permanent campaign to get drunk drivers off the road.
Last weekend a team of traffic officers from the Secretaria de Movilidad (Semov) set up a breathalyzer test checkpoint on the south shore Highway 15 at the outskirts of San Luis Soyotlán, monitoring 464 drivers between 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 26 and midnight Sunday, July 27.
During the operation, officials detected 12 motorists who were behind the wheel while in a state of intoxication that merited detention and transport to the Centro Urbano de Retención Vial por Alcoholimetría (CURVA) in Zapopan, to be held from 12 to 24 hours. Another 75 drivers were found to be under the influence, but registered at alcohol levels below the legal limit. Six more were ticketed for minor traffic violations.
Initiated in November of last year, the Salvando Vidas (Saving Lives) program is aimed at reducing accidents and highway deaths related to alcohol consumption. Recent statistics indicate that the death rate from crashes involving drunk drivers has already fallen by 43 percent, while accidents in general have dropped 34 percent.
Up to now, the itinerant alcohol checkpoints have been targeted to catch drunk drivers who circulate on major thoroughfares in the Guadalajara metro area. On two occasions traps have been set up on the Chapala-Guadalajara highway in the vicinity of Ixtlahuacan de los Membrillos.
This week, Semov Traffic Police Commissioner Francisco Poe Morales announced that Salvando Vidas will be expanded to schedule more frequent spot checks in the lakeside area, as well as cover other highways that lead to major tourist destinations in the interior of the state.
Another new strategy that is now being applied to young drivers under the age of 35 involves hitting repeat offenders with a two-year suspension of their driving permits and permanent revocation for a third recurrence.