Alcohol-related traffic fatalities in metro-area Guadalajara have fallen to 31 in the first eights months of this year, compared to 134 in the same period in 2016.
Officials from the Jalisco Transportation Department (Semov) say its nightly drunk-driving checks are the chief reason for this substantial drop in deadly accidents.
“We are now in the fourth year of the program in the current administration, and the Salvando Vidas program is bearing fruit,”Carlos Alvarado Ron, Semov’s director of Traffic Security, said this week.
The measure is also having an effect outside Guadalajara, he noted. Alcohol-related deaths in the rest of the state dropped from 104 to 44 during the same period, Ron said.
The checkpoints are now being set up regularly in provincial regions of Jalisco, including the Lake Chapala area, which is heavily frequented by party-going young people at weekends.
The tough measures seem to be resonating most of all with young people, Ron revealed. More people in the 30-49 age bracket now fail the breath tests than in the 18-29-year-old category, as was the case when the checks began. (The rise of Uber taxis – popular with the young – may also have something to do with this change.)
During the last four years, 17,369 drivers have failed the breath test and were taken to the lock-up (Curva) in Zapopan to spend up to 24 hours behind bars. In the same period, 10,613 fines were issued to motorists who tested over the limit. Of the 27,982 people sanctioned, only 3,059 were women.
A total of 1,232,000 tests have been given to drivers since the start of 2013.