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Bus drivers want National Assembly to ease up on traffic law enforcement

Cuenca bus and truck drivers are lobbying the National Assembly for changes to the national transit law, at least in the provisions that deduct driver’s license points for infractions. Under the law passed in 2008, drivers with less than 15 points out of a total of 30, are prohibited from working professionally.

Bus drivers are demanding a relaxation of traffic law enforcement.

According to Messiah Vicuña, secretary of the Azuay Province union of professional drivers, the current law infringes on the right of professional drivers to earn a living. “As it is currently written, the law does not consider the reality of driving in Ecuador. Speed limits are often arbitrary and unfair and traffic patterns are not the same as in other parts of the world. Professional drivers are not criminals and they should be judged realistically on the conditions they work under.”

Vicuña and other professional drivers’ union representatives are demanding an elimination of the driver’s license point deduction system.

In addition, Vicuña’s claims that transit police are too quick to write speeding tickets as well as issue citations for non-use of seat belts and talking on cell phones. “There needs to be more leniency for these violations based on conditions in specific situations,” he says.

So far in 2019, professional drivers have been ticketed 220 times for speeding, according to transit police.

Édison Moscoso, provincial traffic commission director, does not object to some of the professional driver demands but says that the drivers must be held to a higher standard because of their interaction with the public. “It is up to the drivers to meet the standards, not up to the standards to meet the drivers’ bad habits. I fully support a common sense approach to traffic laws but the safety of the public must come first.”

The point deduction system is one of at least a dozen reforms being considered by the National Assembly. Among the others are revisions to mandatory jail sentences for drunk drivers and for owners of vehicles driving with bald tires.

18 thoughts on “Bus drivers want National Assembly to ease up on traffic law enforcement

  1. Seems to me these drivers want to be rewarded for endangering their passengers and the public? What deterrent to their continuance to break the law do they suggest?

    They make their complaints but offer no solution to their bad and dangerous behavior. They don’t like the present punishment which they deem to harsh but doesn’t seem to stop them from repeat offenses so what will stop them?

  2. BULL SH**! The only way to change “the reality of driving in Ecuador” is to be MORE strict and consistent in giving tickets, not less!

    Driving here is as bad as it is exactly because of poor enforcement. Let the professional drivers lead the way and demonstrate how to drive safely. The only change should be that the traffic cops actually start doing their job and give MORE tickets, but give them CONSISTENTLY.

    Parents learn very early that if you make a threat and do not follow through, that the threat loses all potency. If you give a threat as a parent, you must follow through, or you will soon lose control of the child.

    Traffic laws are the same. The threat has been there for years, but rarely followed through. As such, drivers ignore the threats and do as they please — leading to gridlock and many unnecessary deaths. The traffic cops have to become reliable parents and make sure the threats have some teeth behind them.

  3. The people do not want to obey traffic rules and are unhappy when they get fines. The bus drivers in Ecuador (and Peru, as well) care more about their cellphone conversations than the lives of the passengers. They should not be deprived of professional driving, but rather from driving at all. This is a common problem all over the world where the “rule of law” is not so much a rule as a suggestion. Why exactly does there need to be “more leniency based on specific conditions”?? The drivers should simply quite speeding, quit talking on their cellphones and wear the seat belt. They are whinging idiots, the lot of them.

    1. You can be fined in Ecuador for using you cellphone while driving. But does it ever happen? I doubt it.

  4. Are they completely nuts? The number of times buses pass unsafely and likewise trucks (although less than buses) is insane. The way they drive at incredible speed thru La Union is so dangerous, I have watched them hit dogs and nearly hit other cars. Parking along side the road and narrowing the lanes is ridiculous; the drivers show zero concern for passenger cars trying to wind their way thru the narrow space left if unbelievable. Neither the truck drivers nor bus drivers show any interest whatsoever in who is behind them and how their spontaneous swerving and stopping effects others is par for the course. Let’s try enforcing laws and not simply checking papers and tires and see how that works for a change!!!.

  5. If I din’t know better, I’d think this was a CHL April Fools Joke. For me, this quote from the article says it all:

    “It is up to the drivers to meet the standards, not up to the standards to meet the drivers’ bad habits. I fully support a common sense approach to traffic laws but the safety of the public must come first.”

  6. This reads like a Borowitz Report…Marge and I were damned near killed by a bus running the light on Las America’s near Super Maxi. If they are truly professional drivers, they should act like it. Throw the book at the bad ones

  7. Ha, ha, ha. What a joke. There should be much more police on the streets for ticketing people with bad habits.

    People in Ecuador rarely stop for crosswalks. What they don’t seem to know (or don’t want to know) is that in some countries these offenses are seen as so severe that only the prosecutor’s office is allowed to deal with these cases (and not the police). When driving in Ecuador I always stop for crosswalks. But by doing that, I am actually creating a more dangerous situation because cars in the lane next to me often don’t stop.

    The police is sometimes a joke as well (some do really good work, it probably depends on the place and the people). For example, I had a (minor) traffic offense in Guayaquil (one passenger in the back seat was not wearing his seat belt) last month. The ATM (Guayaquil traffic police, always with special attention for cars with license plates from Azuay) tries to bribe me by telling me that the fine is huge (200 dollar) and that I have to come with them to their police station, but I never pay bribes, so no success for them. You then would expect them to fine me (15% of the salario básico (59 dollar) and 4.5 points of my driving license in this case), but no. They probably thought that they could better invest their time in finding people who do pay bribes.

    And then the police checkpoints. At least one every week. “Driving license, please”. In most cases, that’s it. 500 meters down the road: one offense after another but no police. Papers and documents seem to be important here, but how people actually drive not. More practical, the police does fine the 2% that is driving with broken flashing lights, but not the 80% that is not using them. And that makes perfect sense in the Ecuadorian mind, because the police itself isn’t using the flashing lights neither.

    1. You were unnecessarily harassed in Guayaquil. They didn’t give you a ticket because only front seat driver and passengers are required to wear seatbelts. Speaking of seatbelts… what a joke when they started that requirement on interprovincial buses. Going through checkpoints, everyone in the first three rows were asked to buckle up in case an officer boarded for a check. Three months later it became a non-issue because most of the seat belts didn’t work anyway. Instead of becoming frustrated, I see it as comedy.

      1. And what about the STOP-signs at the school buses? They all had to pay about 200 dollars for it. I never see them using those (in my eyes useless) signs, but that’s maybe just me.

  8. Accepting responsibility for one’s actions is something that Ecuadorians refuse to do. They are all about excuses & blaming others. As much as i love this country that is something that i cant seem to get past.

    1. Ecuadorians rarely admit when they are wrong. “White lies” are totally forgivable. We could go on and on. I admire your insight into this culture. It’s the only way that one can truly love this country. On the positive side, we don’t have to worry about some crazy shooting children who are attending school.

      1. Sadder cultural characteristics, in any society, are not confined to politicians, lawyers and some garage mechanics. In this case, corruption (or if you wish “a loose regard for law”) is part of all members of a society noted for it. It does not nullify other, super welcome characteristics but one must be honest and see the entire personality of a nation AS IT IS. Only then can work be started, taking 2-3 generations, to remedy it.

        That is what heritage and culture is. All its quirks, corruption or a bus driver ignoring the most basic traffic law is “natural and normal” to those who grow up here. Police avoid enforcing “unnatural” laws.

        1. well spoken // the heavy yoke of culture always hangs tough // it takes a brave heart to move away

          1. How true Dodd! First they have to realize, intellectually, that they are prejudiced by their culture. Then they have to have the strength to change, despite all odds against it. Of those still standing after that, one of a hundred will go on and try to change their society.

  9. Don’t you mean “drivers with more than 15 points” are prohibited and not “ less than 15 points? This reader is confused.

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