Following a decade of debates and hurdles, Brazil can finally enforce a zero-tolerance policy regarding driving under the influence, thus granting police forces the authority to impose breathalyzer tests on drivers suspected of drunk driving.
“The Drink-Driving Law approved in 2012 in Brazil set an important best-practice for other countries, and the big win here is that the law can now be fully enforced,” says Socorro Gross, Representative of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) in Brazil. “By helping deter drink-driving, it will help save countless lives.”
Under the Drink-Driving Law – also known as the ‘Dry Law’ – drivers must have a blood-alcohol content of zero. The country’s Supreme Court decided that police forces are entitled to administer breathalyzer tests as societal benefits emanating from such tests outweigh concerns about individual rights – one of the main arguments against roadside alcohol tests was their possible use in criminal proceedings, violating an individual’s right to not self-incriminate. International organizations have been involved in helping Brazil enforce its drink-driving law, including Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety, and the World Health Organization, through the “Vida No Trânsito” project.