San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

New traffic law already has netted 172 DUI arrests

Costa Rica´s tough new traffic law is showing teeth, particularly when it comes to taking a bite out of drunken driving.

The number of arrests made for allegedly driving under the influence reached 172 this week, less than two weeks since the law took effect, the Public Works and Transport Ministry said yesterday.

The new law says drunken driving is punishable by up to three year´s jail time (see for more on the law).

Thirty-two of the arrests occurred after New Year´s Day.

The National Police last week stopped a man who was allegedly driving an ambulance down San José´s Avenida 6 under the influence. Officers noticed the ambulance, owned by a private medical response company, was being driven “in an irregular manner,” and checked the driver´s alcohol level to find that it was 1.9 grams per liter, nearly four times the 0.49 g/l legal limit, according to a Jan. 2 Public Security Ministry statement.

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