Claiming that penalties for driving offenses are too often disproportionate to the crime, the Cuenca municipal government is asking for changes to Ecuador’s Integrated Criminal Code (COIP).
“The best example of the problem is sending drivers to jail for speeding,” says Adrián Castro, manager of Cuenca’s transportation office. “One driver receives a fine for exceeding the speed limit because his violation falls into one category while another driver, who goes just one kilometer per hour faster, goes to jail because he falls into another category.”
Castro also says there are too many gray areas in the transportation law passed by the National Assembly in 2014, resulting in judgments being made by police and judges that are often illogical. “There are too many legal vacuums in the law as it is written. These need to be fixed.”
In addition to a revision of speeding offense penalties, the city is also asking for a review of legal alcohol limits for drivers and stronger penalties for operators of informal taxis and passenger vans; for public transportation operators who don’t assist passengers in the case of sexual harassment or abuse; and for those who leave the scene of traffic accidents.
Another revision to the law the city is suggesting is that judges be allowed to assign driving offenders to community service instead of serving jail time,
The city’s proposals have been sent to national transportation authorities who are compiling a list of possible COIP changes to be forwarded to the National Assembly.