Not that long ago I wrote about some of the unique driving techniques in Ecuador. Well, thanks to a set of new laws things have dramatically improved.
Ecuador’s New Driving Laws
Earlier this week there was an article in the Cuenca paper that gives some new statistics for accidents since the new laws went into effect on July 23, 2012. Under the headline: Speed Controls Prevent Accidents (Control de velocidad previene accidentes) the article quotes stats from the National Traffic Director, Juan Ruales. He says that traffic accidents caused by speeding have reduced 50% and a reduction of 10% of accidents for other causes. It was noted by expats in Quito, Guayaquil and here in Cuenca that the style of driving changed overnight when the laws went into effect.
The article notes that since July 23 (just 7 weeks) there have been 366 drivers arrested and 11,000 have been ticketed for driving over the speed limit.
The first morning that the laws went into effect, there were a number of people arrested in Azuay province. The first person ticketed (Spanish paper) in Azuay was going 108 km/h in a 90 km/h zone. He was fined $87 and lost 6 points off his license.
Details of Ecuador’s New Traffic Laws
These laws are not light. The fines are heavy and at a certain point the driver could be sent to prison.
The allowable speed limits depend on the type of vehicle and the type of road. The limits haven’t changed – they just are being enforced now.
There are three categories:
- Within the speed limit: Obviously, this is okay and nothing happens. Well, you might get honked at or cut off by other drivers – but the police won’t ticket or arrest you.
- Moderate Range: a fine of $87.60 (30% of basic monthly salary, currently $292), loss of 6 points off the license
- Out of Moderate Range: fine of $292 (a basic monthly salary), loss of 10 points off the license and 3 days in prison. The driver is arrested on the spot and taken to prison. No trial.
As you can see in the above graphic, the tolerance level is less in urban areas.
For example, if a car drives 60 km/h in an urban area (with a limit of 50 km/h) the driver is considered as driving out of moderate range and will be fined $292 and go to jail for 3 days.
Have you noticed a change in the driving in Ecuador? Have these laws changed how you drive?