Starting in June of 2008, the Brazilian Government adopted one of the strictest driving under the influence (DUI) laws in the world, a law sometimes referred to as the “dry law.”  The nation’s restaurant association is working to overturn it, while other organizations are learning to deal with it.

Anyone driving with a blood alcohol level of .02 percent or greater in Brazil (compared with .08 in the U.S.) is considered driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI).  The penalties are a $400 fine, one-year license suspension, an impounded vehicle and possible jail time.

This comes to many as a welcomed move in a country where 35,000 people die in car accidents each year.  Our firm’s San Diego car accident attorneys believe that by cracking down on DUI car accidents, wrongful death car accident statistics will be sure to fall as well.

A standard breathalyzer used by police on suspected drunk drivers.

“The culture of (Rio de Janeiro) is bohemian — they like the night life, they like drinking beer,” said a chief inspector with the federal highway police in the Brazil capital.  “This law asks for a behavioral change, and it’s hard to change their behavior.”

When the new law went into effect, more than 5,000 people have been cited for DUIs after police swarmed the streets to set up sobriety-test checkpoints.

The new law has come under fire from critics who say that the law is too strict, authoritarian and unconstitutional.  Meanwhile, a Brazilian beer maker, AmBev, started paying 10% of taxi fares for drinkers, while some bars and restaurants are either driving their customers home or setting up hammocks for them to sleep off the drunkenness.

There is still a small problem. The car accident statistics have actually gone up in Brazil since the new laws have been implemented.  Officials are blaming two things for this.  First, there are not enough breathalyzers to perform the sobriety tests.  And secondly, corrupt police officers are taking bribes from drunk drivers (DUI) instead of making arrests.

As San Diego car accident lawyers, we agree with this new law, and anyway lawmakers can limit the possibility of DUI accidents and wrongful deaths, the better.  Too many people are dying needlessly, and it looks like Brazil has had enough.  Hopefully, officials can correct some of the snags that are getting in the way of stopping DUI; otherwise, it may be another great idea that is lost.

If you were injured and believe that you deserve compensation, then call our bilingual law offices right away at 1-858-551-2090 or click here for a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney and find out how we can help you.  We look forward to providing good advice for your case.  There is no fee if no recovery.