By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIR, BRAZIL – Operation Lei Seca (Dry Law or Prohibition) will intensify the activity during the year-end holidays, with 250 agents to be mobilized starting on December 24th, Christmas Eve. Government sources report a total of 134 operations will be carried out – including traffic stop blitzes and educational campaigns – during the holidays of Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
The ‘dry law’ was initially passed in 2008, and changed the acceptable level of alcohol in one’s body to zero, making any blood alcohol content an offense. Under the law, a breath test is also not required for a conviction if there is other evidence available, such as eyewitness accounts or images.
“The movement of people and traffic will be intense [so] there will be 67 operations in the Christmas season and 67 in the New Year’s Eve. In addition, for the first time we will have operations in the state this holiday season, which [in the past] concentrated only in the metropolitan area,” said the coordinator of Operation Prohibition, Colonel Marco Andrade.
On December 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 31, 2014 and January 1, 2, 3 and 4, 2015, the operation will also distribute flyers, stickers and information at strategic points in the city such as airports, bus and tourist sites such as Copacabana beach, the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoa and the Lapa.
“The year-end holidays make us celebrate, but also make us reflect on our attitudes. Traffic is a major public health problem in Brazil. The Rio de Janeiro has given positive examples. In November this year, the Ministry of Health reported that the state has reduced between 2008 and 2013, the number of deaths in traffic by 35 percent,” said the colonel.
The Operation Lei Seca is an educational and enforcement campaign, permanent, launched in March 2009 by the State Government of Rio de Janeiro. From then until December 21, 2014, authorities report 1,723,813 drivers were approached, 337,847 were fined, 70,000 vehicles were towed and 123,444 drivers had CNH collected. A total of 127,045 drivers suffered administrative sanctions, and 4,410 of them also suffered criminal penalties. The agents conducted 1,506,724 tests with the breathalyzer.
This represents a large increase over last year’s efforts. In 2013, only 363,378 drivers were approached, 69,305 were fined, 12,954 were towed, 317,647 drivers had CNH collected. A total of 3,112 drivers suffered administrative penalties, with 858 of them also suffered criminal sanctions. The agents made 317,647 tests with the breathalyzer.