Bolivian bus strike and road blocks to protest new drunk driving law

by BoliviaBella
(Santa Cruz, Bolivia)

The Bolivian government took notice of the amazingly high number of bus accidents that took place in January 2010 (72 dead and 196 injured in 5 bus accidents in one month) and very swiftly passed a new decree declaring that any interdepartmental bus driver caught drinking while driving (whether he or she causes and accident or not) will immediately and PERMANENTLY have their drivers license revoked.

In addition, bus line owners may have their licenses to operate revoked, depending on the situation. For example, in some cases the bus drivers were also underaged, or did not have drivers licenses at all. One bus line has already had its license to operate one of its routes suspended.

This has led Bolivian interdepartmental bus drivers to protest in defense of drivers. The national public transportation driver's union has declared a 2-day interdepartmental bus line strike for Tuesday and Wednesday (February 9 and 10) and will also be blocking all main roads between major cities.

It is interesting to note that the head of the public transportation union has admitted his own drivers license has been revoked and he currently does not have one.

The union has also announced that if the government does not negotiate with them, they will expand their strike and road blocks, and will request all city bus and taxi companies to join in. The Government has stated it will not back down.

To date the decree only covers interdepartmental bus lines and drivers. Authorities and the public, while greatly supporting this new decree, also widely criticize it for not covering ALL drivers, including city bus and taxi drivers, and every licensed driver in the country.

ANOTHER ACCIDENT FEBRUARY 5TH: Even as the bus transportation union announced its nation-wide strike and road blocks to protest the new drunk driving law, another bus (TransCopacabana) collided with a cistern truck on the road between La Paz and Copacabana. It rolled down a ravine killing 5 and severely injuring 35 others.

Comments for Bolivian bus strike and road blocks to protest new drunk driving law

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Feb 10, 2010
strike on hold
by: Anonymous

The bus drivers alliance has put this strike on hold while they converse with authorities. But remain alert for any changes.

Feb 08, 2010
Death by firing squad
by: Anonymous

is the penalty for a first offense drunk driving conviction in Nicarauga...

Feb 08, 2010
bus drivers divided on this issue
by: BoliviaBella

An update on what's going on. Bus drivers are divided on this issue. In most of Bolivia they are intent on carrying out this strike and road blocks.

But in Santa Cruz, bus drivers don't agree. Many favor the government's new drunk driving law and say it's fair. They're saying they won't participate in the strike and road blocks as the national union is demanding.

The strike and blockades of major national arteries are set to begin on Tuesday and last through Wednesday evening throughout the country. However, at the bus terminal in Santa Cruz, bus ticket sales to other cities continue normally today.

If you plan to take a bus from any Bolivian city to another, pay close attention to the news.

Feb 07, 2010
supporting drunk driving
by: BoliviaBella

It's only the bus drivers themselves that are not supporting this new law - of course, because it affects them. The general population seems to be jumping for joy.

I can't believe it either. It's like they're supporting drunk driving. I know they mean to protect their jobs, but their jobs cannot be more important than human lives. Besides, the law protects THEM from death too! In fact, in most of the accidents that happened in January the bus drivers died!

The only think I wish were different is pretty much what everyone else is saying - that this new law should cover EVERY driver in Bolivia, not just interdepartmental buses.

Ah well, it's a start anyways.

Feb 07, 2010
Drunk Bussing
by: AJ

I saw a coach mow over a microbus in Beni last year... all ten people in the micro were smeared into greasy red stains among metal pieces no bigger than a muffler over several hundred meters. (It was the micro's fault and many open beer cans were found (at 6AM!)) and it took a few days to affirm the actual body count and even sex the bodies let alone identify them the impact was so powerful. I can't believe people would strike to protect drunk driving in ANY country!

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