Photo: Driving Drunk
In Mexico City, officers are changing the perceptions of policing and public safety as they crack down on drunk driving.
Until relatively recently, getting out of trouble for drunk driving after registering over the legal limit on the “alcoholímetro” (breathalyzer), required little more than paying of a police officer, or perhaps even shouting, “Do you know who I am?” but not anymore, and the public has taken noticed.
According to a survey by Grupo Reforma newspapers, 50 percent of survey takers said the officers working the alcoholímetro “do honest work”, and 86 percent were happy to see the occurrence of drunk driving going down.
The program named Driving Without Alcohol employs 300 police officers and medical personnel at moving sobriety check locations across Mexico City. Since it began in 2003, the local Public Security Secretariat says alcohol-related fatalities have gone down 60 percent.
Still, for those who drink and drive, once they are inspected by medical personnel, if they are determined to be too drunk to drive, they’ll spend anywhere from 20 to 36 hours in detention while they sober up.
Though it has become somewhat of a game to evade the checkpoints, there are many who have gotten caught, including artists, politicians, priests, businessmen, Lucha Libre wrestlers, and yes, even a number of honeymooners on their way to Acapulco.