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Jalisco Congress passes bold new transportation law

A Mobility Law permitting yearly hikes in public transportation fares and introducing mandatory detentions for DUI has been approved unanimously by the Jalisco State Congress.

Transportation Secretary Mauricio Gudiño said last week that the law, would become one of the most important pieces of legislation to be implemented in Jalisco in the last few decades.

Under the Mobility Law, police officers with breathalyzers will patrol all areas of Jalisco, more speed cameras will be deployed state-wide, speeding penalties will be increased, and vehicles will require mandatory insurance policies covering third-party damage. Rental cars driven by chauffeurs will be made available for those visiting Guadalajara for business or pleasure, while public transport will continue to run later at night in areas with many restaurants and nightlife.

Controversially, the cost of public transport could automatically rise in line with inflation each year, with a tariff commission appointed to review the rate in the third quarter of every year. However, this will not take effect until an electronic pre-paid fare system is put in place. The law also allows authorities to revoke the concessions of public transport firms that make unauthorized changes to fares or suspend service for more than four weeks without justification.

Drunk drivers will no longer be let off with a small fine or a verbal warning under the new law. Hefty fines will be applied for anyone caught driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level of more than .050 (meaning that one half of one percent of a person’s blood, by volume, is alcohol.)  This could be equivalent to as few as two drinks for someone weighing around 140 pounds (see chart). Fines will range from 150 to 200 daily minimum salaries, equivalent to 9,714 pesos (776 dollars) to 12,952 pesos (1,035 dollars).

In addition, the tough new penalties mandate compulsory detention for 12 to 24 hours for any driver with a BAC level between .08 and .13 or a Breath Alcohol Content (BrAC) level of between 410 and 650 micrograms of alcohol per liter of breath. Anyone found to be driving with a BAC level of more than .13 or a BrAC level above 650 will be kept in jail for 24 to 36 hours. 

In the United States, each state has different rules for the definition of legal intoxication but if a driver is found to have a BAC level of .08 or above, he or she is subject to arrest and prosecution. The reading of .08 BAC is the recommended level from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Under the new Jalisco law the vehicles of all offenders will be impounded while second offenders will have their licenses revoked for two years. Public transportation drivers will have their licenses revoked indefinitely if found driving under the influence.

With the new law passed, Gudiño told Milenio Radio this week that his agency will create a registry of all traffic offences committed by drivers in Jalisco. This registry would be accessible to third parties, such as businesses that want to check the driving record of potential employees when hiring new chauffeurs.

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