|A man takes a breathalyser test as part of the Lei Seca|
Anyone who has been in Brazil for more than 5 minutes knows that Brazilians love to find a way to get around a law or a regulation. Back home you might get looked down on for questionable morals but here finding a “jeitinho” is a matter of pride and admiration. São Paulo is no exception and despite being one of the toughest states in clamping down on drink driving, there have been many interesting attempts to get round it.
The obvious one which recently became a more expensive tactic is not to avoid the speed trap or “blitz” as they are known locally but to refuse to take the breathalyzer. The police itself admits they cannot force somebody to effectively testify against themselves and if they don’t have proof of excessive alcohol consumption they are unable to impose prison sanctions. Instead an administrative non-cooperation fine is applied. The toughening up of the Lei Seca (literally the Dry Law) which governs and aims to eradicate drink driving means this strategy is now more expensive and the fine reaches up to R$ 1915,30 (almost 1,000 dollars) rising to twice that if the offence is repeated.
The cheaper and more famous work around is the Twitter account which tweets in real time where a police blitz is. It’s actually a double work around as the account itself doesn’t flag the speed traps, in fact it will claim that it is morally against opposed to it but they will allow other users to tweet speedtrap locations at them. Most major Brazilian cities now have Lei Seca Twitter accounts, the São Paulo one has a self description which reads as “online traffic information about accidents, floodings etc. Don’t drink and drive! Don’t let selective morality beat you.” Quite amusing for a Twitter account with a hashtag which reads LeiSecaSP . The government last year tried to ban these accounts from Twitter but to no avail.
|Metadoxil, the supposed breathalyser-proof drug|
For those too drunk even to tweet as they drive, a third tactic emerged over the last few weeks. A seemingly simple solution began to appear on social media and soon videos began to appear on youtube claiming that if you take a non-prescription pill called metadoxil you would pass the breathalyzer test even if under the effects of alcohol. Pharmacy sales of Metadoxil boomed in the pre-carnival period and it is still hard to get hold of in many pharmacies due to demand outstripping supply. Alas, it transpires that it has no effect on alcohol levels in your body nor of your ability to avoid being detected and has little more than placebo value. Placebos however, work only on susceptible minds not on breathalyzers.
The search for the perfect jeitinho continues..