This information is taken from an article in the local Sunday newspaper ( O Popular) in Goiânia.
The number of driver’s licenses suspended due to driving while intoxicated was 150 in the year before the Lei Seca was implemented while only 38 drivers had their licenses suspended since the one year of the Lei Seca. Although more drivers were arrested this last year, fewer had their licenses suspended. The article goes on to say that the process for suspending driver’s licenses favors the driver; not the police. Thus, the low number of suspensions.
However, traffic deaths have fallen by 10% in Goiás State and deaths in hospitals as a result of traffic accidents are down 11% nationwide. So, maybe the Lei Seca is helping, but there are still too many deaths due to driving and drinking that go unpunished.
The FolhaOnline newspaper (SP) states in an article on 15 June that arrests for drunk driving increased 17.3% in the second semester (Jan-Jun) of the Lei Seca. The breathalyzer test was given to 13,341 drivers in the second semester.
From July 2008 to April 2009, there were 96,589 injuries due to traffic accidents; 23% less than during the same period in 2007-2008. Traffic deaths were down 6.9%
RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec. 22 Of all the things you could say to a cop with an automatic weapon after he’s pulled you out of the car on the side of the highway at midnight, Isaac Chaves chose: “I’ve had 15 beers.”
The electricity went off here today. Rare. No electricity + no traffic lights = the photo.
This happened around 1:40 when many people were returning to work from lunch. Goiania is easy enough to get around in that many people go home for lunch; especially those who have two-hour lunch breaks.
Most of the time when this happens, folks are a bit more orderly; however, today….grid lock.
The grid lock you see in the photo happens because everyone keeps moving forward regardless. It is the same when you go to enter an elevator….the doors open and everyone inside rushes out while everyone outside rushes in….at the same time. People will not wait. Once they get moving, they don’t want to stop.
You as a Gringo ain’t gonna change this. You either get used to it, work around it, drink more or go home!!
BTW, this little traffic jam is a super-mini compared to São Paulo. There they have the Mother of All Traffic Jams. Another of one of the many reasons I would not live there.
RIO DE JANEIRO – Three Norwegian tourists came under fire and one was shot after the satellite navigation system in their car guided them straight into one of Rio de Janeiro’s most dangerous slums.
UPDATED 28 Nov 10
Favela Alemão (German) was taken back from the drug gangs this morning and house-to-house searches are being conducted. No battles…yet.
Getting a driver’s license in Brazil, like most anything that involves dealing with the government, is complicated. So complicated that there is always news reports of scandals in the driver’s license divisions. But, once you have it, you can drive like you damn well please.
To the right is a photo of a BR Driver’s License.
A gringo friend of mine recently got his and explained the process he had to go through.
The Federal Government has been trying to pass a national law against the sale of alcohol along Federal Higways for a couple of months. The first law created protest from restaurateurs around the country claiming they would go broke. Probably true since many restaurants in small towns are out on the Federal highway.
That law went back to the table. Now it has re-appeared in the form of a Presidential Decree. Instead of targeting the sellers, they are targeting the drivers. If you are caught with ANY alcohol in your blood, you will lose your license and pay a R$955 fine.
There are not enough breathalyzers. In the State of Rio there are 20 and only seven are working. In São Paulo State, 62 new breathalyzers were added on top of the 20 already available to the highway police for covering 24,000 km of highways.
In addition, most Brazilians don’t see a problem driving after a few beers.
So, will this law stick? Doubt it, but stay tuned.
27 November 08
The Minister of Justice admitted today that the Lei Seca (anti driving and drinking law) has been less successful than planned. Although traffic deaths are down 6.2%, the results are disappointing. Municipios and States were to have purchased the breathalyzers, but haven’t. Thus, the Federal Government is going to purchase 10,000 which will distributed to areas that have the highest indices of traffic deaths.
NOTE: In Goiás, only the Federal Highways are being monitored. I haven’t read about anyone being arrested for drunk driving in weeks and no one talks about not drinking and drivng. Of course under the new law, one beer makes you a drunk driver. In talking with others, no one seems concerned about drinking and driving. I did read a week or so back about some arrests in São Paulo City. But I think it is safe to say the program “nao pegou”…. didn’t “catch on”….in the country as a whole. I would guess that the drop in traffic deaths has been the enforcement on Federal Highways, which is progress. If this law were implemented and enforced nationwide, taffic deaths would fall by double-digits at least, but that won’t happen until the Feds finance the program. Federal Law, but local government must pay for it?
25 September 08
Since 20 June, the police have detained 217 people for driving while intoxicated in the city of Goiânia. The Lei Seca (anti drinking and driving law) law stipulates that the driver is to have his/her license suspended for 12 months. To date, not one has had their license suspended. Even though they were caught ‘red-handed’, they have a right to a defense, which means it will take three or four months to come to trial. During this time, the defendant can start another judicial process against the first one. In short, until the law changes, it appears no one is going to lose their license.
01 August 08
The law is holding so far, or as we say here “pegando”.
In the news today: “For the first time in four years, the Federal Highway Police registered the lowest number of deaths during the month of July; school vacation month. Deaths from auto accidents fell 14.5% compared to the same period in 2007.”
18 July 08
Folha de São Paulo newspaper reports today that the deaths from auto accidents have fallen 63% since the Dry Law was instituted in June. This is very good. The law is “pegando”.
05 Jul 08
The law is being enforced; however, the Association of Bars and Restaurants has claimed the Lei Seca (dry law) is unconsitutional because they are too strict and arbitrary.
Treatment of traffic accident victims have fallen 19% in Sao Paulo City since the law went into affect. Based on a data from three hosiptals, which treat traffice victims.
The punishment for those who do not comply with the law will be considered serious and provides for suspension of a driving license issued by one year, plus a fine of R$ 955 and retention of the vehicle.
Suspension for one year the right to drive if air expelled into the bafômetro is equal or less to 0.1 mg of alcohol per liter. More than 0.3 mg / liter of alcohol in the air expelled (dg or 6 per litre of blood), the punishment also includes the arrest of the driver and a jail term of six to months to three years.
1 Jul 08
24 Jun 08
The papers are reporting that 42 drivers have been jailed over the last three days in nine States. Another 42 were fined.
23 Jun 08
A TV news report today out of Rio said:
- on average seven people die per day in traffic accidents (car, moto, pedistrian).
- 27,000 a year die on Brazil’s highways.
- 6 in 10 auto accidents are alcohol related
- 500 breathalysers for 400 highway police posts throughout Brazil.
Driving here is stressful; especially in the cities. Economic progress over the years has brought more drivers out on the streets (cars and motos) but not the necessary expansion of freeways, overpasses or other infrastructure that would make driving here, perhaps, less stressful.
To a certain extent, this is probably true for most urban areas around the world so Brazil is no worse than many and might even be less stressful than most…but it is still stressful to drive here.
The main problem with city driving: you never know what they will do. There is no pattern to the lack of driver discipline.
MotoBoys will pass on the right, go up on the sidewalks, cut through corner gas stations, go against the traffic flow. I mean, they are like a sworn of bees.
The MotoBoy problem will get worse since the cost of riding the bus for a month will pay the monthly installment on the purchase of a moto.
I drove in Saigon years ago and it was worse than Brazil, but I had a different mind-set then. It was a war-zone. There were no rules. It was driver beware. In Brazil there is no war. There are traffic rules and regulation, but folks tend not to pay much heed to them, but it is still “driver beware”.
The MotoBoys are not liked but in many cities they are important to keeping the economy going. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Besides, how will you get your pizza delivered without the MotoBoys?
Take a Ride in São Paulo
> Eyes on Brazil – Motoboys of Brazil
UPDATED: September 2012
Brazilians know how to drive well, but once behind the wheel, some show a high degree of imprudence, irresponsibility and just plain wacko behavior. Brazilians are by no means the worse and probably better than many drivers in the World, but still, when you drive here they will “never” let you relax. The nicest people you could ever meet turn into inconsiderate, aggressive, dangerous drivers when they hit the streets. Combine this with too many bad streets and highways, lack of or poor traffic signs, too many motorcycles in the cities and too many trucks on the major highways and it all adds up to an interesting driving experience.
BTW: Brazil has had three F1 World Champions and you will hear them joke that these great world-class drivers learned their skill while growing up driving in Brazil.
British Embassy Safety Tips:
Drive carefully in Brazil. The style of driving and standards are very different from the UK. Brazil has a much higher road accident rate compared to the UK. Brazil has a high road accident rate; in 2005 there were 35,000 deaths on the roads – 19 people per 100,000 of the population died in Brazil compared to 5.5 people per 100,000 of the population in the UK.
You are allowed to drive in Brazil on a UK driving licence together with an authorised Portuguese translation. Carry these documents with you and a copy of your passport.
Brazilian traffic laws
impose severe penalties for a number of traffic offenses. Enforcement ranges from sporadic to non-existent, so motorists should not assume that others will necessarily follow even the most fundamental and widely accepted rules of the road.
Some important local rules and customs include the following:
All states have seat belt laws, but enforcement varies from state to state.
Child Car Seats: Some states require child car seats, but they are not universally available or affordable, and enforcement is also lax. As a result, most children are not secured in car seats.
The maximum speed limit on major, divided highways is 120kmph (74 mph). Lower limits (usually 60kmph (40 mph)) are often posted in urban areas, depending on the road and the nature of the neighborhood. Speed limits are widely ignored and rarely enforced. Many towns and cities have marked electronic/photographic devices (“Fiscalisacao Electronica”), which verify speed and snap photos of violators’ cars and license plates as a basis for issuing speeding tickets. Brazilian drivers tend to brake suddenly when encountering these devices.
Yielding the Right of Way:
Drivers must yield the right of way to cars on their right. Compliance with stop signs is rarely enforced; so many motorists treat them as yield signs.
Driving Under the Influence:
Drivers are in violation of the law if blood/alcohol level reaches 0.06 percent.
Turns on Red Lights:
Not permitted, except for right turns where there is a sign with an arrow pointing right and the words “Livre a Direita.”
Penalties for Drivers Involved in an Accident Resulting in Injury or Death:
In addition to possible criminal charges and penalties, compensatory and punitive damages may also apply.
Local Driving Customs:
Drivers often use flashes or wave a hand out of the window to signal other drivers to slow down. Drivers will often break suddenly to slow down for the electronic speed traps mentioned above. In addition, pedestrian “zebra” crossings are strictly observed in some places (especially in Brasilia) and ignored most everywhere else.
For general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please refer to our Road Safety page .
For specific information concerning Brazilian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, please contact the Brazilian National Tourist Organization offices in New York via the Internet at http://www.embratur.gov.br/ .
For additional information from other sources in Brazil about road safety and specific information about accident statistics, Brazilian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, please see the following web sites: http://www.dprf.gov.br (Brazilian Federal Highway Police, in Portuguese only), and http://www.transportes.gov.br (Ministry of Transportation, in Portuguese only).