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A traffic cop at a breath test stop in Cancún. A traffic cop at a breath test stop in Cancún.

Cancún drivers spared automatic jail for impaired driving

They may now pay a fine instead of spending the night in El Torito

Motorists caught driving under the influence in Cancún will no longer be automatically sent to the local jail, known as “El Torito” (The Little Bull).

Drivers now have the option to pay a fine of 8,000-12,000 pesos (US $411-617), and the amount of the fine can depend on how much the driver has had to drink.

Those with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.041 to 0.08, measured with a roadside breath test, will be fined as much as 10,138 pesos (US $521), and those with a BAC over 0.08 will be fined as much as 12,673 pesos (US $651).

The fines will be as much as double in repeat instances of impaired driving, and the driver’s license will be suspended for six to 12 months.

The initiative provides an option of jail time no longer than 36 hours or community service if the driver is unable to pay the fine.

In all cases, the automobile will be impounded until the driver has completed the applicable sanctions.

Delivery and transit drivers will lose their licenses if they have any quantity of drugs or alcohol in the blood.

The Cancún municipal council also approved a measure to install video cameras at impaired driving checkpoints to ensure that the program is functioning properly or, in other words, that there is no corruption in the process, explained Mayor María Elena Lezama Espinosa.

The announcement of the initiative came after a busy weekend at El Torito. Cancún booked 105 people into the cells for impaired driving from November 29-December 1.

The national BAC limit for driving a vehicle is 0.08, though some states have limits as low as 0.04. Federal law allows police to imprison an impaired driver for 20-36 hours for the offense.

People caught driving impaired more than twice in one year, or more than three times in three or more, have their license revoked.

Sources: Novedades Quintana Roo (sp), En Cambio (sp), Riviera Maya News (en)

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