The fatal South Access accident revived the debate over zero tolerance of alcohol while driving

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The Zero Tolerance Driving Law applies in several provinces. Mendoza did not adhere. Here up to 0.5 grams of alcohol in the blood is allowed.

This Monday, Sergio Villanueva, manager of the Wine Fund, reacted to the statements of national senator Anabel Fernández Sagasti and Nihuil said that “the issue is very demagogic because in the face of a misfortune with dead people within a much more complex problem, we resort to simplism by saying that we would have adhered to the law of zero tolerance as if someone who has 2.68 grams of alcohol in the blood would respond to that logic.

For his part, road safety specialist Héctor Roitman was invited to the Hola Mendoza program on El Siete (Channel 7) and appealed to keep an eye on the “terrible” road signs that are carried out on streets and routes in Mendozaas well as stopping demagoguery with zero tolerance when a person drives with such a high level of blood alcohol that of course exceeds the 0.5 allowed.

Meanwhile, Sergio Saracco, a toxicology specialist, pointed out the need to take into account other psychoactive substances such as cocaine or marijuana that are equally or more important than alcohol when it comes to interfering with responsible driving and which occurs today as much or more commonly than drunk driving.

From the Wine Fund they responded to Fernández Sagasti

“The simplicity of thinking that this will change is very serious because there is a law that instead of saying 0.5 says 0. And it also responds to a logic of philosophical theory that we already discussed in the Senate of the Nation. The senator (for Anabel Fernández Sagasti) was clear at the time saying that self-control does not exist, that it has to be the State that controls everything. In the developed world, 0.5 or 0.8 is allowed,” responded Sergio Villanueva, from the Fund. Vitivinícola to the Peronist legislator’s post this weekend.

Villanueva criticized that “It is taking advantage of a misfortune to continue insisting on the same thing, to be able to hit the provincial government because it did not adhere to the zero tolerance law.“. And he recalled that “this is a wine province where wine generates a lot of work, the 0.5 refers to people who go to have a glass of wine at a restaurant or to a relative’s house to eat.”

On the other hand, the wine businessman ironically said: “I don’t know any Tucumán legislator who says that sugar consumption is bad. It bothers us that it is local legislators who revive this campaign and use a misfortune to return to the same issue where in a part of the population it can have an effect because they believe that tolerance 0 of alcohol and not 0.5 is going to change this reality.

Sergio Villanueva, owner of the Wine Fund. Photo: Walter Moreno

Sergio Villanueva, from the Mendoza Wine Fund, crossed Senator Fernández Sagasti for being “simplistic” with zero tolerance at the wheel.

He insisted that his sector does not “in any way encourage people to drive when drinking alcohol, but a minimum tolerance is reasonable in a country with a certain freedom and with a certain conscience where the State and the wine industry should work, and not on absolute prohibition.

Lack of correct road signage

Engineer Héctor Roitman, specialist in Road Safety and president of the Association of Judicial Experts of Mendoza, was interviewed on the program Hola Mendoza by El Siete and stated: “The signage is terrible“There is an accident here and we put just a cone 5 or 10 meters away and so the people who come at the permitted speed have to find out about the accident almost on top of them, at the last minute.”

Roitman was an expert in the accident that occurred in 2019 in the area of ​​Friday’s tragedy, and where access at that time was also not in good condition. In that tragic event, doctor José Paulos crashed while intoxicated against a taxi and ended the life of one of the passengers, Luciana Montaruli.

“On the South Access there were three plastic drums, a little tape that could not even be seen at night and a small sign on the shoulder without lights that warned of the danger, all to indicate that the descent to Rodríguez Peña was closed. When the trial took place, I raised that the director of Provincial Highways or the corresponding agency should also have been sitting there because on top of that it was not known who had made the cut,” Roitman recalled to insist on the lack of good road signs as well as works carried out in perfect conditions to navigate the streets and accesses from the province.

The hand that goes towards the center of the South Access was cut off at the height of Rodríguez Peña.

5 years ago, a few meters from the fatal accident on Friday, a car occurred. another tragedy. The South Access was also not in optimal conditions for circulation.

5 years ago, a few meters from Friday’s fatal accident, another tragedy occurred. The South Access was also not in optimal conditions for circulation.

And continuing with the criticism of road safety, Roitman assured that “All the plateaus that exist in the City, those elevations to give way to pedestrians, are all poorly built“None of them respects the measures dictated by the law, much less the signs they should have.” And he concluded: “As a citizen who wants to obey the rules, I have to find out about their existence before coming across an undulation or an elevated level crossing that Even if you come at low speed, it still makes you jump and can cause an accident.”

A speed bump, the engineer reports, “must be 5 centimeters deep with a meter of ramp on each side and rounded edges, because speed bumps are not designed to make cars burst but to warn the driver to slow down.”

Regarding the zero tolerance of blood alcohol for those who drive a vehicle, Roitman questioned: “Why do they have to punish me with zero tolerance when I am willing to have a drink and I am sure that the majority is willing not to go over the limit of 0.5?” And he referred to the fatal accident on Friday: “Do you think that this man who was driving with 2.68 alcohol in his blood is going to change because instead of 0.5 the tolerance is 0? This is the lie that exists around zero tolerance, pure and exclusive demagogy“.

Drugs and their impact behind the wheel: more common than alcohol?

Dr. Sergio Saracco, representative of the Argentine Toxicology Association, contributed on Channel 7 that Friday’s tragedy “It is a sum of causalities, not an accident because it could have been avoided“.

And he concluded that “We not only have to take into account alcohol but also other psychoactive substances that make it difficult for the driver to drive, such as cocaine, marijuana or other legal drugs such as alcohol, which are tranquilizers.

Thinking that the problem is only due to alcohol is a reductionism to a complex problem, we are in a moment of every man for himself, after all nothing happens, this happens to someone else and it will never happen to me. That is where we have to focus on education and control to prevent and respect traffic rules,” said the doctor and former provincial official.

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The specialist Sergio Saracco.

The specialist Sergio Saracco.

Saracco warned that “Here everything focuses on wine and, if we look at the data, wine is at the bottom of consumption; Today distillates, white drinks and especially fernet predominate”, indicating that “two shots of fernet in a 70/30 is almost equivalent to a 700 cubic centimeter bottle of wine.”

To illustrate, he stated: “Consuming 100 cubic centimeters of wine or 300 of beer, which is what is allowed, this is metabolized in the span of an hour and a half or two hours and there are values ​​that are almost 0. But we must not forget of drug consumption.SIf they consult the forensic medical bodies, the cases in road accidents that come with positive results for drugs are abysmal.. So that person who caused a death in an accident had 0 alcohol but tested positive for cocaine. This is very common and is not up for discussion,” he claimed.

From Estrellas Amarillas they demanded effective sentences

Carina Quevedo is a representative of Estrellas Amarillas in Mendoza, and offered her consideration in this regard, saying that “the cases that have had a minimum of justice are those that have had a media tone; It causes us a lot of pain to think that as citizens we have to go out and seek justice.“.

Mother of a young man who died in a road accident, Quevedo asked Governor Alfredo Cornejo “to put his words into practice and get to work on the reform of the Mendoza Justice Department. Zero tolerance or a harsher sentence is of no use if once the act is committed there is no penalty for that action.. “The events continue to happen because there is no effective penalty that is applied to a person who knowingly kills while driving.”

In total, his organization has painted 1,500 stars in the last 6 years. “We ask the governor to make meeting with the families of traffic victims a priority on his a dialogue table to take care of each other and find a way out in the face of so many deaths,” he concluded.

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