Panama’s aggressive drunk drivers in for a shock

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AGGRESSIVE DRUNK drivers who decide to vent their anger on traffic police are in for a shock. From Thursday, January 11 those who commit violent actions against the police while under the influence of alcohol or illicit substances. will be calmed down by a “Taser” or electric pistol, which will immobilize the aggressor’s muscles for 5 to 6 seconds.

Ismael Herrera Director of Traffic Operations said attacks suffered by traffic cops led to the National Police Director to order the purchase and assignment of pistols that give an electric shock. “This is a non-lethal weapon that could replace firearms, and in a moment you can neutralize the person and then make the arrest, ”  said Herrera.

A heavy sanctions structure is intended to help reduce Panama’s road carnage of over 400 deaths a year and four times that number in injuries with some 146  accidents each day.

If a person dials in the breathalyzer test 0-24 micrograms per deciliter he is within tolerable limits. From 25 to 40  he will be penalized for driving with alcoholic breath, while 41 upwards will be heavily penalized for proven drunkenness.

So far this year 240 people have been punished with license restrictions and car towed for breaking the traffic regulations.

If the person is detained for the first time, the sanction will be $1,000. and the license will be withdrawn for a year. For the second time, the fine is  $1,500 and the license will be suspended for 3 years and for the third time the license is permanently suspended, said  Herrera.

Osiris Gratacós of the Road Safety Foundation asked the authorities to immediately discuss the increase in sanctions “The increase in fines has to happen soon, people are not aware of what can happen,”

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